Day one of mediated talks ends, with silence

After a fairly full day of talks in Washington, the NFL and the players’ union apparently have ended their negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, presumably until tomorrow.

Albert Breer reports via Twitter that no one is talking as they leave the building.  Former player Pete Kendall and NFLPA general counsel said “no comment” while leaving, as did NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith roughly 30 minutes later.

Breer hasn’t mentioned via Twitter whether any of the league representatives have exited.  It could mean that mediator George H. Cohen opted to keep Commissioner Roger Goodell and company around for the purposes of talking to them about some of the issues that to date the parties have not been able to resolve.

A key threshold question relates to whether the league will share financial information to justify the effort to obtain a greater cut of the revenue pie.

Based on the people Breer saw going in, a fairly small group of folks showed up for the session, including Goodell, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, and outside counsel Bob Batterman for the league.  For the union, Breer saw Smith, Berthelsen, Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, and former player Jim McFarland.

Breer didn’t mention seeing NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, a man who has been a divisive presence in past talks, and whom the league regards as the instigator of the union’s litigation-based strategies.  If De Smith left Kessler out, and if in turn the league asked Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to stay home, it could be easier for the two sides to get past personalities and focus on progress.

It remains to be seen whether any details trickle out.  The problem the union faces is that, as information is communicated to the NFLPA Executive Committee and the board of player representatives, the universe of potentially loose lips expands significantly.

15 responses to “Day one of mediated talks ends, with silence

  1. Not that it was a totally uneventful day. A handful of NFLPA executives were taken down on the street outside the building by a Police SWAT team. But it was just a case of mistaken identity.

  2. The current judge kills this happening before the March deadline, so I’d plan on disappointment until then.

  3. You’ve already run several “stories” telling us that both sides have taken a “vow of silence”.

    So what’s this about?
    Are you just telling us they meant it?

  4. I am all for not hearing anything about progress or lack there of for a week, especially if that means they’ll be that much closer to a resolution a the end of that week.

  5. The reported 18 percent salary cut the league wants the players to take represents the additional $1Bn/year—on top of the existing $1Bn/year—the owners also want reinvested to “grow the game”—and, consequently, revenue—to allow both sides to eventually draw more cash from the well, so to speak. From an equity standpoint, that entitles the union to receive a periodic accounting from a mutually agreed-upon, independent auditor to verify that the $2Bn/year is being spent on growing the game (e.g., stadium construction, renovations, maintenance, overseas league expansion, etc.)—and nothing else. It does NOT entitle the union to get any more financial data from the owners other than what is provided for under the existing CBA (Article XXIV, for example).

  6. although this is a “no report” report, please continue to report on who and when meetings take place.

    not like much else is going on, anyway,

  7. It’s a good thing the NFL hasn’t found a way to capitalize on all of the money reporters are making from reporting on the lockout, or it might never end.

  8. The “grow the game” requirement could have huge implications for cities that currently do not have an NFL team – not only Los Angeles (obviously), but also San Antonio, Columbus (which is more populous than either Cleveland or Cincinnati), Portland, Hartford, and conceivably, non-U.S. cities like Toronto, Mexico City and London.

    I’d love to see all eight of the existing divisions acquire a fifth team; then there could be an 18-game season where each team plays its four division rivals twice each, and all five teams from one division in their own conference, plus all five teams from one division of the other conference.

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