During Wednesday’s hearing on the question of whether the lockout should be lifted while the Brady antitrust lawsuit continues, Judge Susan Nelson encouraged the parties to return to mediation. A day later, the players will officially ask the league to continue talks.
Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the players will be sending on Thursday a letter asking the NFL to submit to mediation under the supervision of the federal court.
The league has made clear, most recently through attorney David Boies (pictured, and again flanked by Elwood Blues) its lack of interest in negotiations aimed at settling the lawsuit. Thus, it’s likely that the NFL will simply reject the players’ offer — or possibly respond with a letter inviting the players to return to collective bargaining.
The NFL presumably doesn’t want to negotiate a settlement of the Brady case because the NFL doesn’t want to have a federal judge supervising the next labor deal. If that’s the case, the NFL should respond by articulating that concern. And then the two sides can try to come to an agreement on that point.
And then that agreement can be used as momentum toward reaching another agreement. And another. And another. Until perhaps they resolve all their differences.
But at least we can dream a little.