The resumption today of court-ordered mediation is meaningless because, for now, the NFL and the players have picked leverage over compromise. Steelers owner Art Rooney, II, essentially confirmed that reality on his way in to the mediation session.
“We’d like to make progress, but it’ll be hard to do,” Rooney said, per Albert Breer of NFL Network. “We have to wait to see what happens June 3.”
On June 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit will consider oral arguments in its review of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling that the lockout should end while the Tom Brady antitrust litigation proceeds.
It’s unclear whether the NFL has consciously decided not to use the inherent uncertainty of litigation to work out a new deal, or whether the NFL is simply resigned to the fact that the players have decided to wait until the Eighth Circuit rules on whether the lockout will be lifted. Either way, Rooney’s comments confirm that there’s no reason to pay attention to today’s proceedings. There’s also no reason to even have them.