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Jeffrey Kessler absent from mediation, too

NFL And Players Resume Court Ordered Mediation Getty Images

Last night, word emerged that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith won’t be attending Tuesday’s mediation session at federal court in Minnesota. due to a family medical emergency.

Now, Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that NFLPA* outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler won’t be there, either.  No reason has been given for his absence.

The non-asterisked NFLPA benched Kessler for several days of mediation in March.  He has a reputation for taking aggressive legal positions and alienating the owners with a level of zeal that is perceived by the league to be excessive.

With Smith and Kessler not present, the players’ effort on Tuesday will be led by outside counsel Jim Quinn, local counsel Barbara Berens, outside counsel Tim Thornton, and named plaintiffs Ben Leber and Mike Vrabel.

Still missing from mediation is named plaintiff and NFLPA* Executive Committee member Drew Brees, who wasn’t present last week and who recently said he’ll “likely” attend future sessions.

The future apparently isn’t now.  And that’s unfortunate.  Brees and the other named plaintiffs need to be there, and all of the owners need to be there.  Until they are, there’s no reason to take these talks seriously, no matter how many times the parties claim that they’re taking the talks seriously.

As a certain Internet hack turned Internet broadcast flunky mused on Monday, it could be that the two sides are hoping to dog-paddle their way through mediation until the draft has come and gone, in order to minimize the wrath that could be unleashed on the Commissioner, on the invited players, and on anyone else who walks onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall if the talks break down between now and then.

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10 Responses to “Jeffrey Kessler absent from mediation, too”
  1. chadmurdigan says: Apr 19, 2011 10:22 AM

    I guess we could hope that all the lawyers and big wigs would have “family emergencies” or otherwise not show up… and then in their absence perhaps a couple of guys with common sense who don’t bill by the hour and who love the game will be left, and they finalize a deal and put an end to all this greedy B.S.

  2. idriveamoped says: Apr 19, 2011 10:26 AM

    Somehow someway I hope the Judge makes an example out of all of them. They all are clearly showing the lack of care, “Both sides” and it would be great if the Judge figures out a way to give both sides a big F-you

  3. jw731 says: Apr 19, 2011 10:32 AM

    It doesn’t matter if Moe Larry and Curly show…..Nothing happens until the players start missing checks……This has been the owners strategy all along..Enough with the draft crap, enough with the fans, enough with the 9 billion dollar pie, when the payers get desperate, and the businessman that are owners know they will, then negotations will start, in the meantime none of this matters….

  4. whitetail28 says: Apr 19, 2011 10:54 AM

    I sure hope that the draft doesn’t turn into an obnoxious booo fest. Boo the comish once and let it go. Lets let these kids have their day.

  5. jlinatl says: Apr 19, 2011 10:59 AM

    I still advocate the draft day cheer:

    Players Suck! Owners Suck! Players Suck! Owners Suck!

    … purely to send a message. I really don’t see much value in booing or jeering one side. I especially don’t see any value in doing it to drafted players; they haven’t caused/advocated any of this. Miller is just a pawn

  6. micronin127 says: Apr 19, 2011 11:08 AM

    The players got a great deal last time around and want the exact same deal. They aren’t negotiating because they got their venue and believe that they will win in court and a judge will give them what they want.

    The owners aren’t really negotiating either because they believe that on appeal that the lockout will stand and they’ve got Batterman on their legal team telling them how he squashed the hockey players using a lockout.

    It’s a mess and the judge should not drag this out.

    The best thing that could happen in my mind is a decision that the lockout can remain in effect. That would wake the players up who are waiting for someone to cater to all their demands without any bargaining.

    Couple that with a decision by Judge Doty on significant damages from the lockout insurance case say greater than $100 million be paid to the players and that would get the owners attention that they haven’t exactly been choir boys either in all of this and now their lockout strategy is iffy because the players have a legitimate war chest to drag this out to the point that next season is in jeopardy and the owners get hurt in the process.

    As long as both sides think they win in court, they shouldn’t be put in the same room together unless it is a courtroom.

  7. thephantomstranger says: Apr 19, 2011 11:14 AM

    Do we really need 32 owners in a room with a bunch of players to take the talks seriously? How are they all going to agree? Talks should be between a small group of representatives from each side.

  8. footballfanatic2010 says: Apr 19, 2011 12:10 PM

    Wait, now you’re saying ALL the owners need to be there? When was the last time every owner in a league was present at the bargaining table? Ridiculous.

    The players don’t want a deal, they want the judge to rule in their favor. Nothing will happen until the appeals process is over. Don’t forget that the players decertified instead of bargaining…it was the players that chose this path to walk down, I just hope the owners bring this to the regular season and make them beg to come back.

  9. bunjy96 says: Apr 19, 2011 1:03 PM

    With schmucks #1 and #2 missing, maybe they can get something done.

  10. marima07 says: Apr 19, 2011 2:55 PM

    I sure hope that the draft doesn’t turn into an obnoxious booo fest. Boo the comish once and let it go. Lets let these kids have their day.
    ————————————-

    I’d have hope if the Draft audience wasn’t populated with mostly NY Jets fans.

    They Boo Roger Goodell every year anyway at this event, so I don’t see any change when there might be an actual reason to voice their displeasure at the league.

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