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Mediation resumes, and no one cares

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On various prior occasions this year, the NFL and the players have gotten together for mediation.  Previously, each meeting was met with a sense of optimism, albeit increasingly muted.

This team around, as the parties return to Minnesota today for further negotiations with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan presiding, no one is thinking that any progress will be made.  Many simply aren’t even paying attention.

And for good reason.  The two sides seem to be committed to waiting for a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, with the players and the league equally confident they’ll win.

The players knew the decertification-litigation chaos strategy would, if successful, end the lockout and allow the players to continue negotiations while operating from a position of ultimate strength — preventing the league from twisting the players’ arms until they accept the owners’ terms.  If that approach fails, the players will be required to return to the drawing board and devise a plan for digging in and missing game checks in order to have a hint of leverage at the bargaining table.

For the owners, losing at the Eighth Circuit means the doors will be forced open (assuming the unlikely complete shutdown option isn’t pursued), and the owners will have to decide on a set of rules for 2011, knowing that any rules other than the Thunder Road approach (i.e., “the rules are there ain’t no rules”) will be challenged as a violation of the antitrust laws.

Each side seems to have accepted the risk of losing, while still pushing for victory.  It’s their right to approach the situation this way, but it makes mediation at this point a complete waste of everyone’s time.

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48 Responses to “Mediation resumes, and no one cares”
  1. cassrangers says: May 16, 2011 7:34 AM

    I care! :)

  2. friendlylittletrees says: May 16, 2011 7:35 AM

    No one cares…? Why bother posting.

    Because we do care… We are like abused people coming back for more.

  3. disturbedshifty says: May 16, 2011 7:44 AM

    I think both sides are looking at it wrong. I have a funny feeling the 8th circuit is waiting to see if both sides can make any head way this week.

    I personally think we won’t hearing anything out of the 8th court until next week after both sides have had some decent time to talk things out.

  4. beatnik25 says: May 16, 2011 7:50 AM

    What’s the point in mediation right now? No one is going to agree to a deal until the courts are done with this. No logical reason for either side on why they would.

  5. collegeref says: May 16, 2011 7:50 AM

    yet you still felt the need to remind us. like you already told us, we don’t care….

  6. 4sacroc says: May 16, 2011 7:53 AM

    Yep. We’ve all gone on with our lives.

    Funny how that happens.

  7. urfinished says: May 16, 2011 7:56 AM

    I think most of us have gone from annoyed to frustrated. In a true compromise, neither side is truly happy…that is why it is called a compromise. How come my 4 year old neice can understand this and these guys can’t?

  8. ukniner says: May 16, 2011 7:56 AM

    Get ready for an avalanche of pro owner comments… as soon as the front offices open.

  9. alewatcher says: May 16, 2011 8:08 AM

    So, the owners and players won’t negotiate in good faith until the court makes a ruling, and the court is waiting to see if the players and owners make any progress in mediation before they issue a ruling.

    Right. Got it.

  10. billinlouisiana says: May 16, 2011 8:14 AM

    Maybe if Judge Nelson had picked a mediator that could be there more than 4 days in the last month some progress could have been made.

  11. chapnastier says: May 16, 2011 8:15 AM

    I don’t know they are even bothering because of the points you make. Neither side is interested, at this point anyways as the owners were interested 2 months ago, in coming to an agreement. I’m getting to the point where annoyance with this is becoming a part of my daily routine. Just kind of wish the players would drop the open books demand and they could just agree on a proper split.

  12. garyman1 says: May 16, 2011 8:16 AM

    You’re right….we don’t care. Let us know when both sides have an agreement… Otherwise, it’s all BS talk and lawsuits.

  13. grpatriot says: May 16, 2011 8:20 AM

    Stockholm Syndrome….

  14. evrybdyhas1 says: May 16, 2011 8:21 AM

    Both sides suck. They don’t realize labor peace compared to other pro sports was as important to the growth of the NFL as any other factor. All other pro sports are losing fans.
    For a pro sport to flourish it must strive for competitive balance. A free market system will enrich the rich both owner and player. That is why I believe some owners are content to allow this to continue. The fans care but have lost hope. We have seen greed kill before. Hello college football.

  15. ezmoover says: May 16, 2011 8:32 AM

    ukniner says:

    Get ready for an avalanche of pro owner comments.

    *********************************************

    You must have missed all the past mudslides, honey.

    Fans no longer care about pro owner or pro union rhetoric.

    The only avalanche fans care about is pro football.

  16. boblavoie says: May 16, 2011 8:39 AM

    Bob Kraft is right.

    As a long time Patriots fan and an active contributor to the Patriot’s Alumni Fundraisers – I am beginning to loose interest real fast. I don’t think the league or the players have a clue to how this will effect the attitude of the fans. If there is a season, it will be subject to booos.

    Go Red Sox.

  17. romosexualtendencies says: May 16, 2011 8:40 AM

    Don’t ever quote the movie Grease again….ever

  18. sneaky1632 says: May 16, 2011 8:40 AM

    Thats because at this point both sides want the courts to decide because they have no motivation to do it with mediation.

  19. waccoforflacco says: May 16, 2011 8:45 AM

    What I care and am most pissed about is that I still have to pay the second and last installment on my season tickets. Our owners still keep getting the season ticket money. ALL the teams should have done what the Giants did and tell the PSL owners that no payment is required until the dispute is resolved and we know for sure no games will be cancelled.

  20. zaggs says: May 16, 2011 8:46 AM

    Since the owners were the last ones to offer a deal, kinda hard to do anything when you’re waiting on a response.

  21. readimgram1 says: May 16, 2011 8:50 AM

    You know what, forget pro-owner. Forget pro-player.

    I am pro-negotiation. The dang players have YET to put an offer on the table. They just say they want the old CBA back.

    Regardless of whether you like the owners or not at least they have put out some offers. In a negotiation one side makes an offer then the other makes an offer….Till you agree. What the hell is this??

    For all those feeling bad for the players who put their “life on the line” Construction workers, power line workers, truck drivers…..anyone that drives to work every day. Puts their “life on the line” more people died on the highway I drive to work on last year then have in the NFL in 20 years.

    The Salary of an average worker in the USA is around 40K where the LOWEST salary of an NFL player is 400K. They make 10 years worth of base salary of an average person. I have a hard time feeling bad for them.

    GET A DEAL DONE! Stop fighting over my money because it is GONE.

  22. realitypolice says: May 16, 2011 8:55 AM

    zaggs says:
    May 16, 2011 8:46 AM
    Since the owners were the last ones to offer a deal, kinda hard to do anything when you’re waiting on a response.
    =====================

    You do realize that the reasons the owners threw that incomplete, vague offer on the table a couple of hours before the deadline date that THEY imposed was purely to cause simpletons to have exactly the opinion you express above.

    Actually, I guess you probably don’t realize that.

  23. riverhorsey says: May 16, 2011 9:05 AM

    Millionaires vs billionaires, we spend our last buck on a tank of gas why should we care?

  24. chapnastier says: May 16, 2011 9:06 AM

    @ reality

    I thought the offer the owners presented was quite clear and concise. Maybe you can point out how it was vague (and I trust you will because you are pretty good at stuff like that). Or you can point out the offer that the players were offering. I’ll wait.

  25. anthonyfromstatenisland says: May 16, 2011 9:08 AM

    Silly players – they should have filed their scorched-earth lawsuit in the 9th Circuit instead of the 8th – where they would have been an absolute slam dunk to win.

    Call it the new “Silly rabbit – Trix are for kids.”

  26. realitypolice says: May 16, 2011 9:13 AM

    Two groups of businessmen renegotiating their partnership, at a time when it doesn’t effect delivery of their product, which is regular season and playoff professional football games.

    One group of businessmen got a great deal 5 years ago, and the other group is exercising their right to reopen said deal to try and strike what they perceive as a better balance and a better bottom line.

    The methods they use may seem distasteful, but it’s nothing that doesn’t happen in business partnerships all of the time.

    This is where fanboy gets confused. Free agent chatter, mini-camps and OTA’s are fun to read about and watch on TV, but they are not the NFL’s product, and you don’t have a “right” to them.

    If this were a regular off-season, we would be at the point where the draft is over, 95% of free agency is settled, and most mini-camps would be done. It would be the rare time of year when there would be virtually no football activity to pay attention to.

    So what exactly is being taken from you, fanboy? That quaint notion you hold so dear that the NFL is somehow not a business? That everyone involved, owner and player alike, is involved in this for some reason OTHER than their personal gain?

    This is all playing out exactly as both sides had anticipated when they began planning for this two years ago. They are still well within the timelines they envisioned when they sketched it out on their white boards in their conference rooms two summers ago.

    The linchpin is the 8th circuit. Nothing will happen until they rule. What smart businessman would make a deal BEFORE they know how much leverage they have? None.

    I have said it before and I will say it again- as long as there is football on September 11th, I will have lost nothing.

    So you can toss all the thumbs-down and vitriolic replies at me that you want, chicken little, the sky ain’t falling.

  27. clintonportisheadd says: May 16, 2011 9:20 AM

    No one “cares” because those that follow the issue know that sending Richardson and Brown to mediation (as the NFL is doing here) is a guaranty of failure.

    Ever notice that the “hard line” owners that want to bust the union invariably are the same ones that run the worst teams? Clueless both on the field AND off the field these folks (Jones, Snyder, Richardson, Wilson, Brown etc) stand in stark contrast to the owners who want to make a fair deal for both sides. Mara, Kraft, McCaskey, Hunt, Murphy/Packers, and the Rooneys.

  28. realitypolice says: May 16, 2011 9:25 AM

    chapnastier says:
    May 16, 2011 9:06 AM
    @ reality

    I thought the offer the owners presented was quite clear and concise. Maybe you can point out how it was vague (and I trust you will because you are pretty good at stuff like that). Or you can point out the offer that the players were offering. I’ll wait.
    ================

    Keep waiting. I will have to do some research.

    There were plenty of articles circulating in the days after the offer describing how many of the economic particulars were left open ended to be negotiated later. I just didn’t keep any of them.

    The players didn’t make an offer because it was their plan all along to decertify and litigate. I have never made any assertions to the contrary.

    As soon as they hired a lawyer to lead them, you knew where this was going.

    It doesn’t change the fact that the timing of the owners final offer made it impossible for the players to accept it before the deadline.

    When you make an offer you know will be rejected, what other reason other the manipulation of public opinion could you possibly have?

    I follow all of your posts, and I know you think the owners walk on water and the players are all greedy scumbags, but it really isn’t that simple.

    I will get back to you with the backup you asked for.

  29. tomcous says: May 16, 2011 9:30 AM

    @disturbedshifty says:
    May 16, 2011 7:44 AM
    I think both sides are looking at it wrong.

    =======================

    ABSOLUTELY TRUE! … Back to mediation weeks later … I believe what disturbedshifty said is 100% on the money! … It’s not the courts fault that each side is acting like children, but now that the Court Ordered Mediation is back in progress, it should be heavily enforced!

    I don’t believe a court ruling about the lockout is in the best interests of FOOTBALL FANS.

  30. realitypolice says: May 16, 2011 9:32 AM

    @chapnastier:

    I can’t post links here, but you can go in ESPN.com’s archives and find an article from March 18th by John Clayton called “Owners’ math simply doesn’t add up”.

    It details problems with the NFL’s numbers in the final proposal that would have made it impossible to implement without further negotiation.

    So I may have not been characterizing it properly as “vague”, but instead it should be characterized as Clayton does- a proposal that clearly wasn’t meant to be “final” and would need further negotiation- delivered at a time when there was no more time to negotiate.

    Again, let me be clear. I am not excusing what the players did. They wouldn’t have accepted that offer no matter what it said- they wanted to go to court from day one.

  31. skindome1234 says: May 16, 2011 9:33 AM

    Somehow I don’t care at all. Like most people I was obsessed with football but like ant addiction I went through withdraw and now I walk free. Don’t need it at all. I can now rediscover my wife and kids on a Sunday. Thanks you toad owners and player for the help.

  32. oldbyrd says: May 16, 2011 9:39 AM

    Boylan is a flat out COMMUNIST….Where do you really think that takes us.? I would miss Football as much or more than any of our writers but, I hope the owners shut the door on these….can’t do anything else players. The millionaires can’t afford it but, The Billionaires can. Isn’t that a fact?

  33. truvikingfan says: May 16, 2011 9:57 AM

    The only thing that fans care about now is the fact that these millionaires and billionaires are ruining the game we love. We are becoming, and have become, disenchanted with the whole thing. It is past the point of stupid. (IMO) I do believe that there isn’t pro-owner or pro-player anymore….there is only pro-fan, and we are the ones getting dumped on.

    My advice to these ultra rich b*astrds is to go get a real job. See how tough life is when you gotta pick up the garbage to feed your family. That includes the owners club too. Get your hands dirty and break your back for a day or two, than you can complain!!!

    @realitypolice
    That last minute offer from the owners was nothing more than a ploy to get another extension in talks. You make very good points.

  34. vahawker says: May 16, 2011 9:58 AM

    “Each side seems to have accepted the risk of losing, while still pushing for victory. ”

    Unfortunately, victory fro either party is a loss for the game. To paraphrase a famous movie line…..I see stupid people.

  35. mick730 says: May 16, 2011 10:03 AM

    “Ever notice that the “hard line” owners that want to bust the union invariably are the same ones that run the worst teams? Clueless both on the field AND off the field these folks (Jones, Snyder, Richardson, Wilson, Brown etc) stand in stark contrast to the owners who want to make a fair deal for both sides. Mara, Kraft, McCaskey, Hunt, Murphy/Packers, and the Rooneys”

    So Clintonportishead, then there is a deal that the union would accept? What is it? If as you say, men like Mark Murphy, who has shown that the last CBA creates serious financial problems for the Green Bay franchise, is looking for a fair deal, are you then saying that Smith and the union know that a fair deal must be made?

    This is a first for me, because from everything I have read and seen, it seems the union as offered the NFL three choices:

    1. Leave the CBA as it has been the last five years.

    2. Change some semantics in the CBA where there no longer is 1 billion off the top and the revenue split is reduced but the overall distribution between the clubs and the players basically stays the same.

    3. The union will sue for treble damages under anti-trust law and destroy the NFL as we know it.

    So, respectfully, CPhead, am I missing something? And if I am, what, in your opinion, would a “fair deal for both sides” look like?

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

  36. vahawker says: May 16, 2011 10:03 AM

    reality police’..”You do realize that the reasons the owners threw that incomplete, vague offer on the table a couple of hours before the deadline date that THEY imposed was purely to cause simpletons to have exactly the opinion you express above.

    Actually, I guess you probably don’t realize that.”

    You realize the owners asked for another extension and DeIdiot said the players would give one if the owners gave 10 yrs of financial.

    You realize that was just a publicity ploy to make player shills express the exact opinions that they do….

  37. geo1113 says: May 16, 2011 10:10 AM

    That last minute offer from the owners was nothing more than a ploy to get another extension in talks.
    ______________

    So what was the ploy of the players who went to negotiations with no intention of doing anything but go to court?

  38. Deb says: May 16, 2011 10:25 AM

    It’s not that we don’t care, but many of us finally understand nothing will be resolved through mediation. I realized when the owners went to the Eighth Circuit that either their egos are too out of control to grasp that they’re going to lose in the end. Or more likely, Jerry Jones and his sidekicks want to lose the antitrust exemptions so they can force out the smaller teams, end revenue-sharing, and keep all the $$$ for themselves. Then we’ll pare down to a smaller league, which will make it easier for the Cowboys to win championships, and for Jones to buy championship players. He is, after all, the guy who spearheaded bidding player salaries into orbit.

    Right now, I’d say everything is going exactly according to the master plan.

  39. realitypolice says: May 16, 2011 10:28 AM

    vahawker says:
    May 16, 2011 10:03 AM

    You realize the owners asked for another extension and DeIdiot said the players would give one if the owners gave 10 yrs of financial.

    You realize that was just a publicity ploy to make player shills express the exact opinions that they do….
    ==================

    Show me documentation that proves the owners requested an extension BEFORE the deadline expired, and that Smith offered that in exchange for 10 years of financials. I don’t remember hearing that.

    The NFLPA has had greater access to league financial data as a platform from day one, and didn’t just float it as a condition of extending negotiations. Again, you are welcome to prove otherwise if you can. I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong.

    And the owners’ statements after the fact that they “were willing to discuss” another extension doesn’t count. I would need to see evidence of an extension request BEFORE the deadline.

    If you are calling me a player shill, you should try and read all of my posts. I have made it quite clear that the NFLPA had intended to decertify and litigate all along, which is why they elected De Smith instead of Troy Vincent as their Executive Director.

    My position has never changed: Both sides are pursuing aggressive and drastic measures- litigation for the players, lockout for the owners- in order to gain leverage. Both are following the plans they had all along.

    Therefore, I am withholding my anger until these aggressive tactics actually cost me something- regular season football. Until then, it’s their mess, not mine.

  40. readimgram1 says: May 16, 2011 10:34 AM

    @ RealityPolice

    I respectfully disagree while what you are saying makes some sense I would argue that every missed OTA is a chance for a rookie to learn the system for draftees.

    Every UDFA that is not signed would have had their chances in those OTAs to show some spark that is being missed.

    From coaches that have been interviewed their first two installations are done during OTAs and then training camp is a refresher for stuff they have already run.

    If this goes on much longer the quality of football we will see will be lower.

    The UDFAs that could have shined in OTAs and then been given a bigger opportunity in training camp will be lost.

    The Free agents that would have been signed and now learning a new system will be playing catch up.

    The stadium staff that would have been getting paid in full will be cancelling their family vacations.

    To say this has no affect until September is borderline silly.

  41. southmo says: May 16, 2011 10:35 AM

    Yeah, yeah, yeah… owners put a “vague” offer on the table just to get an extension of talks… etc….

    Uh huh.

    First, how do you know it’s vague? Did they send you a copy? Second, even a vague proposal is more than the players put on the table. And third… my favorite…

    … you’re saying that getting an extension to stay at the table was a bad thing??? Isn’t that exactly what we all wish they were doing now???

    Baffling, twisted, desperate logic to excuse a union that never had any intention of doing anything at “the table.”

  42. chapnastier says: May 16, 2011 10:39 AM

    @ reality

    You obviously don’t follow all of my posts. I think both sides are at fault for this garbage. I tend to side with the owners because of the self entitlement that comes out of the NFLPA. They think they are invincible, irreplaceable and above the normal business structure. They also think they can tell their employers how the business will be run. I can also see the bigger picture and what this will do to the NFL and how it will trickle into the NBA’s negotiations as well. There is a reason for the lack of interest in Baseball these years and the union is pushing for a similar business model. It scares the hell out of me.

  43. clownburger says: May 16, 2011 10:52 AM

    STOP SAYING BOTH SIDES! It’s inaccurate and irresponsible reporting!

    The NFL says over and over that they WANT to negotiate a deal RIGHT NOW!

    The Players flat out REFUSE to even consider making a counter proposal!

    This is 100 percent on the players. It’s impossible to come to an agreement when one side (THE PLAYERS) has no desire to do so.

  44. redstar504 says: May 16, 2011 10:58 AM

    I don’t care about any of it. I used to but not anymore. They are never going to come to an agreement. They are going to both ruin football out of selfishness.

    We pay the bills, as in we fans. The folks that buy the tickets, jerseys, and watch the games giving the NFL the ratings to drive up ad revenue.

    We do all of this because the product is good. They are destroying the product and assuming we will be there at the end. I can tell you this if there is no product for long enopugh folks wont be there. If they change the NFL into a leauge where Jerry Jones wins the Super Bowl every year folks outside of Dallas won’t be there.

    I would love to see the number of fans the NFL is loosing as this nonsense and greed grab goes on. I would love to know what they are going to do when the TV rattings are down, ad revenue drops and as a result the networks dial back some of that TV pie. I would love to see what they are going to do when every NFL stadium looks like Tampa Bay.

    Is the 5-10% of the pie they are quarreling over now going to seem like a lot when the pie is cut in half by self inflicted revenue losses. I don’t maybe the great know it all Roger Gooddell or the hollier than thou Drew “Saint Bresus” Brees can answer that one for me (note I am from New Orleans and talking about Brees that way). Wake up ownership and players you are destroying this thing over scraps.

  45. buckeye2280 says: May 16, 2011 11:01 AM

    I love how all of my comments over the last week are being deleted. Is it due to you all thinking I am some NFL plant.. Give me a break. I am an educated software engineer making 50k a year who has choosen the owners sides due to the bull that the players are spewing right now. They can claim they want to get a deal done but until they sit down, End the Anti Trust litigation, Reform the union then they are on there own as far as i am concerned.

    Lets see how fast this one goes away…

  46. redstar504 says: May 16, 2011 11:05 AM

    @truvikingfan says:May 16, 2011 9:57 AM

    The only thing that fans care about now is the fact that these millionaires and billionaires are ruining the game we love. We are becoming, and have become, disenchanted with the whole thing. It is past the point of stupid. (IMO) I do believe that there isn’t pro-owner or pro-player anymore….there is only pro-fan, and we are the ones getting dumped on.

    My advice to these ultra rich b*astrds is to go get a real job. See how tough life is when you gotta pick up the garbage to feed your family. That includes the owners club too. Get your hands dirty and break your back for a day or two, than you can complain!!!
    ________________________________

  47. truvikingfan says: May 16, 2011 11:31 AM

    For the record, my comment about the owners “ploy” with a last minute proposal was intended to help with the argument about it. My use of the word ploy may have been in bad judgement….my apologies.

    Strictly speaking, my belief is that the owners knew the union was going to decertify, and they threw the hail mary trying to keep them at the table. Am I correct? Who the hell knows. It doesn’t even matter, because they decertified, and here we are.

    Also, for the record…I have never stated any position, of myself, on either side. the only side I am on is us, the fans. What does my opinion matter….very little, if any, but since we are all blogging, and bitching, that was my two cents.

  48. vahawker says: May 16, 2011 4:44 PM

    reality..NOT calling you a player shill, Just showing how both side use the same arguments, just subbing players for owners or owners for players.

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