When the NFL and the players get together again on Tuesday after a three-day break in the renewed mediation effort, the man who’s leading the effort on behalf of the players won’t be present.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith will be absent due to a “family medical emergency.”
Technically, Smith isn’t required to attend. He isn’t a named party, and there are plenty of other lawyers representing the players. But, as a practical matter, Smith is running the show. Without him, it will be difficult to make any real progress.
It’s unknown whether Smith will be back on Wednesday. It’s also unknown whether anyone will be back on Wednesday. If, as Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com recently reported, neither side is serious about getting a deal done because each side thinks it will prevail on the motion to lift the lockout, the first order of business for Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan on Tuesday should be to press the parties to prove that they’re serious about negotiating — or to pull the plug on the process, so that Judge Susan Nelson can rule on the pending motion.