After the NFL and the NFLPA* spent two days engaged in not-so-secret settlement talks in Chicago, the federal court in Minnesota has canceled formal mediation scheduled to reconvene on June 7.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the cancellation has indeed occurred, with the federal court explaining that “it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with the parties.”
This could mean that communications will continue, either in person or via other means, into next week and beyond.
It makes sense for the mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, to push the parties to try to settle the case now, before the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling on whether the lockout will be lifted. After a final ruling is issued, one side will have a lot more leverage. For now, the uncertainty can be used by both sides to strike a win-win deal.
That’s why, in our view, it’s incumbent on the NFL to be prepared to make an offer aimed genuinely at restoring labor peace, without regard to the concept of winning the best possible deal.