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Only two of the 10 named plaintiffs attending mediation

NFL And Players Resume Court Ordered Mediation Getty Images

As percentages go, the plaintiffs in the Brady antritrust lawsuit are slightly better represented than the defendants.

The lawsuit has 10 named plaintiffs, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees.  Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that only two of the named plaintiffs — Ben Leber and Mike Vrabel — are present for the mediation.  (Yes, we believe they all should be there.) The action has 33 defendants, the league and the 32 teams.  And the defendants are represented by Commissioner Roger Goodell and four owners.

That’s 20 percent of the plaintiffs and 15 percent of the defendants.  Of course, as long as someone from each side has the ability to negotiate an agreement, it doesn’t really matter how many or few are present.

Some would contend in response to our belief regarding the importance of all owners attending that all 1,900 or so players should be there, since they ultimately will have to vote on any deal that is negotiated.  But that’s not how things work after decertification of a union.

The players have forfeited their ability to vote on the proposed settlement agreement.  Under normal class-action procedures, they’ll have a chance to individually object in court to any proposed agreement.  And they can still file their own lawsuits.  But the future of the league, from the players’ perspective, currently is in the hands of the 10 named plaintiffs, subject to the approval of any settlement by Judge Nelson.

Thus, we’re comfortable concluding that, between Leber, Vrabel, and DeMaurice Smith (pictured, with lawyer Jeffrey Kessler), there’s enough juice on the players’ side to get something done.  The real question is whether the four owners have the ability to craft offers without further approval or permission from the 28 owners who aren’t there.

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47 Responses to “Only two of the 10 named plaintiffs attending mediation”
  1. richm2256 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:15 AM

    And Vrabel’s only there for the free beer!

  2. smarterthantheaveragebearfan says: Apr 14, 2011 11:20 AM

    Thats the key isn’t it?

    They players are unified and any deal that DeMaurice Smith makes will be accepted.

    The owners on the other hand are sharply divided amongst themselves. Any deal Green Bay or Kansas City (small market teams dependent on revenue sharing) might like would be most likely something Jerry Jones or Mini Me (Dan Snyder) would oppose.

  3. massappeal12345 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:27 AM

    AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

  4. duanethomas says: Apr 14, 2011 11:29 AM

    They must have free beer for Vrabel to be there.

  5. commoncents says: Apr 14, 2011 11:32 AM

    Biased, as always with this reporter.

  6. jw731 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:34 AM

    Does anyone actually think ANYTHING is going to be accomplished here?……Seriously?

  7. upperdecker19 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:35 AM

    The owner’s didn’t show in fear that Jerry Jones was constructing temporary seating to the talks.

  8. umbskinsfan says: Apr 14, 2011 11:39 AM

    this is a good thing not a bad thing….

    it is hard / nearly impossible to have a negotiation with that many people in the room, as long as those present have the power to make decisions, the fewer bodies in there the better, as long a there is equal representation on both sides

    this should help the mediation process go smoother….hopefully

    the real question is whether the two sides actually want to get a deal done now, or right before the season starts

  9. galvestontexans says: Apr 14, 2011 11:39 AM

    And the circus continues

  10. jpmelon says: Apr 14, 2011 11:45 AM

    Brady couldn’t bear to look Kraft in the eyes at mediation…so he decided to not attend.

  11. huskersrock1 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:45 AM

    Since when did they start serving free beer at mediation?

  12. pappageorgio says: Apr 14, 2011 11:46 AM

    This story is an example of what has become normal at PFT. A pro union stance. There’snothing wrong with the amount of owners that has been sent by the league as long as they carry the power to discuss the issues and make compromises. Judging by which owners were actually sent, I think they can.

    Sending all 32 owners would probably counter productive (too many cooks) and the union would probably try to accuse of trying to intimidate the players with such a large contingent.

  13. orbearider66 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:47 AM

    If all defendants should be there and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad idea, then, at a minimum, all 10 plaintiffs should be there. In fact, I think all 32 player representatives should be there as well. I know that the union technically de-certified but it is still acting as a union so the union reps should still show up.

    I just think that the owners and players … literally just the owners and just the player reps, should get in a room and hammer out an agreement.

  14. blantoncollier says: Apr 14, 2011 11:49 AM

    The jabs at the owners in the post are almost laughable. Its assumed that two players and Dee can make the decision for the players. And the Commissioner and four owners can not make a decision.

    There is no way a Federal Judge would allow mediation without the proper parties in the room.

    Before the Union shills start posting, the way these things work is Committees are formed with the power to enter into a discussion to reach a settlement. Then the Agreement is taken to the entire body for ratification. In this case we know who can ratify the vote for the owners, but do we really know who can reach an agreement for the Players? After all there is no Union or bargining body, since they decertified–well unless they didnt.

    Lets also not forget, we got to this point, because the Players walked out. Not the Owners.

    Facts sometimes get in the way of entertainment on this blog.

  15. chapnastier says: Apr 14, 2011 11:54 AM

    I have to admit that I appreciate this response to several complaints coming from comments over the last few posts. But it is more of just justification of a stance really. For all we know the four owners present just might have been given the power to make a decision for the group. It might be unlikely but it still can be possible. We can also conclude that the union’s defense is a sham due to the presence of Smith, regardless of his new title.

  16. krow101 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:55 AM

    Hey it’s vaca time. Those poor multi-millionaire slaves have got a lot of partying to do.

  17. oppydlt says: Apr 14, 2011 11:56 AM

    So let me get this straight. We get down on the owners for only sending five people, including Roger Goddell the head of the NFL. Even though all it would take is a confrence call to get them to vote on whatever deal is placed. Yet its ok that eight of the people who are so traumatised that they need sue dont need to show up. Come on. The owners have other businesses to run. The players dont have anywhere else to be and they wont even wake up to go to court.

  18. eagleswin says: Apr 14, 2011 11:56 AM

    They players are unified and any deal that DeMaurice Smith makes will be accepted
    ————————–

    That’s incorrect. What he said was that the players have no say anymore, it’s up to the lawyers. They have forfeited their right to have a vote in the proceedings.

    The players don’t have to accept any deal, they just have to live with it if one is made.

  19. rad312 says: Apr 14, 2011 11:59 AM

    Biased, as always with this report. Critical of the owners if not 100% attendance however give the NFLPA* a pass.

    Given the respect card was played by Manning and Brees with regards to Richardson…and neither is in attendance, but yet Richardson is in attendance.

    Kudos to Vrabel for being there along with Kraft! Maybe with a businessman like Kraft involved with the sea of lawyers there stands a chance of progress being made.

    Enough with biased reporting…..and your endless excuses for the SHAM NFLPA.!.!

    If you are going to call out the owners then call out NFLPA and the players!

    If you are going to call out the owners attorneys then call out the NFLPA’s attorneys.!.!.!

  20. bfridley says: Apr 14, 2011 12:01 PM

    Next article’s headline should be “Players Need To Quit Obsessing Over Team Ledgers” — THEN we might start hitting on some unbiased reporting, with all articles considered…

  21. nineroutsider says: Apr 14, 2011 12:13 PM

    How is this story biased?

    The question of whether the owners reps have the power to vote for all is legitimate. It is well known that the Union (or NFLPA*) is more united in their stance and have given full authority to their reps. With the owners, it is not so clear for obvious reasons…they are more like 32 congressmen. The Union is like the voters within a district, there may be dissent, but once the congressmen is elected he votes for all.

    Stop crying about biases and let the guy report. If the media doesn’t say exactly what you losers want, they must be biased. Ever consider that you are wrong?

  22. tednancy says: Apr 14, 2011 12:26 PM

    The fact that the players have decertified and placed all power in the hands of their attorneys shows is yet more proof that the players intended to litigate this all along. This was never about negotiation. It was all a sham to get into a courtroom.

    This whole legal process is a waste of the fans’ time. It’s a waste of the owners’ time. And worst of all, it’s is a disgusting waste of taxpayer dollars.

    The players union should be ashamed of itself, and the fans should be angry with it.

    For the good of the game – even if we miss part of the 2011 season – the owners have to stand their ground. They need to get this matter out of court and back into the negotiating room.

    The players want to waste our tax dollars and waste the time of our public officials in order to gain leverage. Screw them.

  23. uwsptke says: Apr 14, 2011 12:28 PM

    smarterthantheaveragebearfan says:
    Apr 14, 2011 11:20 AM
    Thats the key isn’t it?

    They players are unified and any deal that DeMaurice Smith makes will be accepted.

    The owners on the other hand are sharply divided amongst themselves. Any deal Green Bay or Kansas City (small market teams dependent on revenue sharing) might like would be most likely something Jerry Jones or Mini Me (Dan Snyder) would oppose.
    ————————————

    Your facts are wrong, Bear fan. Green Bay is the smallest market in professional sports, but is a revenue-generating powerhouse. They actually pay into the revenue sharing pool, not draw out of it.

  24. firethorn1001 says: Apr 14, 2011 12:38 PM

    ‘Stop crying about biases and let the guy report.’

    Problem is, 1/2 of it is reporting and the other 1/2 is editoral blogging with a slanted bias towards the players. When you do that, you open yourself up to criticism.

  25. airraid77 says: Apr 14, 2011 12:44 PM

    Its biased because he is getting bashed probably 2 or 3 to 1…to his 10 PRO-union anti owner/rich stories and 1 pro owner/rich-anti union stories.
    and claiming he is being fair.
    He has yet to run a story on the sham that is called decertification. DOESNT DARE working for PMS network.
    Doesnt report that the players NOT ONLY DECERTIFIED FIRST, but LITIGATED before any lockout OCCUR….and doesnt dare.
    Doesnt dare report the danger the league is in if the owners lose…and as a result the players are in. NOBODY wins long term if the owners hands are forced. and he doesnt dare.
    HE runs the first page of liberal reporting playbook, using one example of a rich man who gives something to the less fortunate….and think everybody should…all the while keeping his riches in his pocket….

    He and all liberals love to make rules for others…and will be the first to claim civil right violations when the rules they are now screaming for are applied to them.

  26. chapnastier says: Apr 14, 2011 12:44 PM

    @ niner

    If you don’t think this article or any one of the now hundreds posted before this is biased in favor of the union/players, then you are blind.

  27. George Canty says: Apr 14, 2011 12:45 PM

    Too many people screws things up. As long as the people in the room are credible among their colleagues, this is a better way to do it than to have all the owners and a big bunch of players.

  28. jamie54 says: Apr 14, 2011 12:46 PM

    And if you believe anything will be really be done in this round of mediation I have a bridge I can sell you. Don’t have that holier than thou attitude about something that has no credence here. It’s a forced mediation session that may or may not bear real fruit at some future date and the attendees are there for face time only, that’s it. No more, no less, get over it, it won’t get settled today, tommorrow, or maybe even this month. Life goes on.

  29. mick730 says: Apr 14, 2011 12:59 PM

    “Your facts are wrong, Bear fan. Green Bay is the smallest market in professional sports, but is a revenue-generating powerhouse. They actually pay into the revenue sharing pool, not draw out of it.”

    Thanks for posting this uwsptke. Nothing like clarity and facts to brighten up a morning!

  30. benh999 says: Apr 14, 2011 1:00 PM

    Can you at least make a little effort to hide your bias? How is it that four out of 32 owners (defendants) is insufficient and a showing of disinterest, but two out of roughly 1800 players (plaintiffs) is bad?

    The notion that the 32 owners are less united than the 1800 players is such a complete and total joke, it almost makes one think you are trying to mock the players, but I honestly think you really believe what you are writing.

    [Yes, I realize only 10 players are named as plaintiffs in the suit, but that does not change the fact that if collective bargaining or settlement negotiations are to mean anything, they would need a majority of the players to agree to terms.]

  31. nineroutsider says: Apr 14, 2011 1:06 PM

    ‘The real question is whether the four owners have the ability to craft offers without further approval or permission from the 28 owners who aren’t there.’

    -Yeah, that is some ‘player slanted’ bias. It is a legitimate question. Mike is actually looking at this thing from a ‘how can this get resolved’ standpoint and most of you are throwing out deeply biased comments in favor of the owners. Some of you wouldn’t even mind missing part or all of the season so that your fearless hero’s win? That is sad. Even the commish told the fans not to pick sides.

    The players and owners will be on the same side soon enough with the same goal…extracting bills from our wallets. Let them worry about the deal details (don’t pick sides!) and we worry about telling them to hurry the hell up.

  32. harleyrider1973 says: Apr 14, 2011 1:08 PM

    Maybe they should server beer, everyone can get drunk and they may actually agree on something.

  33. blantoncollier says: Apr 14, 2011 1:13 PM

    To the question of bias:

    Please notice that the names of players attending are listed. I saw on ESPN Sports Center at Noon, that Robert Kraft, Art Rooney, Clark Hunt, and Jerry Richardson are attending the session. Clearly some of the most respected owners in the league.

    Add in the Commissioner..and there is plenty of juice for the owners, alot more than Dee has in the room.

    I am just saying…report the facts or be strictly entertainment and state your bais upfront.

  34. nineroutsider says: Apr 14, 2011 1:32 PM

    Oh, I get it now. The Rush Limbaugh crowd is big in sports forums. Good to know, I can stop posting now…no point in wasting my time.

  35. airraid77 says: Apr 14, 2011 1:35 PM

    nineroutsider,
    what you and i suspect most pro season at any cost posters dont understand, AGAIN, is this goes WAY BEYOND FOOTBALL…What smith and at some point the judge will try to do is rewrite labor law in such that it will be almost impossible to get rich…..AND THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON….it wont be worth the hassle…..THE players are being lead to their own execuction so to speak….
    But AGAIN, this is MUCH MUCH bigger than 2011 season….
    And again I challenge anybody to sit their and tell me they would open up ten years of their financial life…not a credit check, not an income statement but an account of every dime you spent , to do buisness.
    AND I can tell you the answer. ZERO. NOBODY WOULD LIKE THOSE LAWS THE TRADE association. is trying to impose on the owners. NOBODY.

  36. broncsfan says: Apr 14, 2011 1:53 PM

    Nelson needs to forget this nonsense and hand down a ruling next week at the latest. She might think she comes off good ordering mediation, but the reality is that this is just delaying the one thing that will get everyone earnestly negotiating fast, and that is a final legal ruling that lets everyone know what their leverage is. That will not happen until after appeal, which was originally supposed to be taken care of by July, thus saving the season, assuming a 2-3-week negotiation thereafter. Hopefully I’ll eat my words, but the longer this BS continues, the more likely it is that regular season games will be missed.

  37. thefiesty1 says: Apr 14, 2011 2:11 PM

    Let’s see, Players 2, Owners 4. Cancel the meeting for lack of a quorum. Borlan go back to Judge Nelson and explain that her order didn’t work because the are all obstinate. It’s her decision now and the players and owners are NOT going to be happy.

  38. thelockoutbeard says: Apr 14, 2011 2:22 PM

    I am going to say it again. We need the powers that be from both sides a.k.a. the decision makers to be in the room. Not just 4 owners and 2 players named in the suit. We need people who can make decisions and can get the damn sport back on!

    The Lockout continues! As the lockout grows on so does my beard! I am growing a lockout beard and am not shaving until they start playing! Please follow me on twitter @TheLockoutBeard

    -The Lockout Beard-

  39. capslockkey says: Apr 14, 2011 2:29 PM

    Less is more. Only having 4 owners and 2 players means there are less opinions flying back and forth across the room and more talking that’s may actually be productive.

  40. nflfan101 says: Apr 14, 2011 2:56 PM

    I realize that PFT is pro-NFLPA* and anti-owners, but the TRUTH is that, most likely, negotiators on BOTH sides will need to make phone calls and/or have votes to formally agree on any deal.

    D. Smith and his fellow lawyers will have to call the Plaintiffs (their actual clients) that are not there and also, ultimately, have to have the players approve any proposed settlement.

    The owners will probably have to call other owners and and have a vote to approve any deal.

    Why can’t PTF just be honest and quit trying to spin everything in favor of the NFLPA*? Remember, without the owners and the players, there would not be an NFL. It takes both.

  41. realfann says: Apr 14, 2011 3:00 PM

    Dead horse.

    Give it a rest.

  42. 3octaveFart says: Apr 14, 2011 4:27 PM

    The players have a clear picture of where they want to land.
    The owners, to no one’s surprise, would still be bickering no matter what happens.

    Been that way from day one…

  43. 44kyle says: Apr 14, 2011 4:28 PM

    The reason I tend to side with the owners in this is that I fear that the players are threatening the existence of pro football as we all know it. I love this game and feel that if the league structure and stability is lost, we the fans, the players and the owners and their employees may never reagin this golden age of pro-football. (see what happened to the Indy 500 for a good example)

  44. 44kyle says: Apr 14, 2011 4:29 PM

    ^^^^”reagin” should be “regain”

  45. philphan1 says: Apr 14, 2011 5:30 PM

    This is gonna get done and soon I think. They really aren’t that far apart. The just leaked to AP story that the owners made a rookie wage scale proposal I believe will be part of the players compensation negotiations and get the sides closer to a deal.

    I also think Goodell has been listening to the anger of the fans on sports radio. One thing I think about him is that he values the Shield, and I bet he’s more than a bit concerned that this lockout is really giving folks a bad taste in their mouths. It goes for those that support either players and owners’ positions. 2/3 blame both according to the SI poll.

    Also, having this done in front of the Federal Court will not allow the owners and players to start their media leaking (sorry guys). If either start blabbin or acting disrespectful, they are gonna get hammered by Judge Nelson.

  46. MichaelEdits says: Apr 14, 2011 11:04 PM

    Mara’s going to court whether he attends mediation or not.

  47. southmo says: Apr 14, 2011 11:50 PM

    The owners made a rookie wage scale proposal in the last offer. It didn’t do any good then.

    And from the sounds of the “mending fences” report today, they got nowhere near a substantive issue.

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