The ice apparently is thawing between the two men at the heart of the NFL’s ongoing labor dispute.
Though there’s no reason to believe the report that the lockout is “almost over,” it appears that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith finally have commenced the kind of relationship necessary for getting a deal done.
According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, via SportsBusiness Daily, Goodell and Smith had a “very jovial dinner” that lasted nearly two hours on Wednesday night, at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.
With the typical breathless hyperbole that appears in every Post article ever written, the report describes the dinner as a “secret and highly unusual sit-down.” Actually, Goodell and Smith had lunch last month during a mediation session in Minnesota.
So maybe it was the second “secret and highly unusual sit-down” in a month.
Still, to the extent that Goodell and Smith are developing the kind of relationship that allows them to let their guard and/or hair down and have a good time, it means that they’re building the kind of trust that gets multi-billion-dollar deals done.
It’s another reason for cautious optimism as one of the most critical and significant and secret and highly unusual months in NFL history unfolds.