Mediation ends for now, resumes March 1

Moments before Thursday’s live portion of ProFootballTalk Live went live, word emerged that the seven-day mediation between the NFL and the players’ union has ended.

The news isn’t as good as we’d hoped.

“Some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties,” mediator George Cohen said in a statement released by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

In other words, pack a lunch.  And another lunch.  And a few more.

The mediation will resume Tuesday, March 1 — five days from now and less than three days before the current labor deal expires.

So if “some progress was made” in seven straight days of talks, how can the “very strong differences [that] remain” be resolved in only three more days of talks?  It most likely won’t happen.

The best hope for avoiding a lockout comes from the possibility that enough progress will be made on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week to prompt the two sides to extend the deadline for the expiration of the deal.  Cohen, for instance, may be able to talk them into bumping the date back by a week.  Or maybe two.  If significant progress is made, another extension could arise.

Then, the talks would continue, hopefully without another four-day break, as the parties move toward an agreement or impasse.

With the process over for now, the commitment to silence continues.  The challenge for both sides will be to find a way to comply while at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, both in any meetings that occur or in any casual hallway conversations.  Everyone likes to tell at least one other person a secret in confidence, and once a member of the media is the person to whom a CBA secret is told, the secret inevitably will be published.

In his statement, Cohen said that the parties demonstrated “mutual respect,” a quality that reportedly had been missing from past meeting.  He also said that the parties met in committees and subcommittees, with “discrete, technical issues” relegated to the smaller groups.

A day after the mediation resumes, owners will commence two days of meetings in the Washington area.  The presence of the owners in the immediate vicinity of the mediation could result in one or more of them attending the upcoming sessions.

The first order of business next week will be to re-establish the mood of progress and cooperation after the parties have had four full days to reflect on their positions, and possibly to harden them.

12 responses to “Mediation ends for now, resumes March 1

  1. I wonder how many of my tax dollars went to hiring this guy to make no progress in getting an agreement.

    Maybe Congress should spend a couple weeks talking about this too. They care much more about getting some face time waxing lyrically about sports than Libya anyways.

  2. Because with mediation you start with the small stuff – where to park – what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then who is going to pay or is it split evenly. Then who sits where. Once you get that out of the way you have establish communication. You can move on to bigger things. Rookie salaries, Stadium commitments, 16 – 18 game seasons, Playoffs. Now your final step is “Profits” who gets what. This where the stall is.

  3. I really hope the Judge agrees with the union’s appeal. Once the owners start to feel like they’re going to be paying the bills with no money coming in, I think standpoints will change ‘quick-fast and in a hurry’.

  4. If a deal is not done, and my team can’t shop the free agent market at a time when they look to be going in the right direction, I will cancel my Direct TV, and pick a new sport. I am sick of spending my hard earned money to sit and watch people with millions and billions complain while I write their paychecks. NO more FOOTBALL BOWLS, LAMPS, FLAGS, SHIRTS, POSTERS, NICK KNACKS, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT WILL PUT A DIME IN THEIR GREEDY POCKETS!!!!!!!!!


  5. Exhausted by the past week, George is going to rent a cheap motel room and go on a four day bender.


    George is getting upset!

  6. I love football, I am a die hard Cowboys fan!!! That being said I would like to give the NFL a piece of my mind. Every person in the NFL from the players to the owners and anyone involved in the game, you wouldn’t have jobs or be millionaires if it weren’t for the fans. You make more money in a year than I will make in a lifetime!!! Somehow that still isn’t enough for you. I want you all to know if the lockout happens you will lose fans and for those fans that do still watch will have no respect for you. I would love to see you all have to get a normal job with a minimal income. Maybe then you would realize how good you have it.

    What happened to the love of the game???

  7. If yall were n the same shoes as these guys. U would b fighting 4 your rightful half of the pie. I’m sick of it 2, but I’m sick of the complaining NFL fans 2. I understand it completly

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