Kessler returns to the labor talks on Thursday

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A revolving door has been installed at the talks between the NFL and NFLPA* given the number of times that lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has entered and exited the room.

The Twitter accounts of several media members indicate that Kessler was back on Thursday.

Like the last time Kessler returned, the move is being spun by some as progress.  But whenever Kessler is involved, there’s reason to be concerned.

We’re concerned because the owners are leery of Kessler.  Some believe he wants to push the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit to a conclusion, no matter how many games or seasons are missed, in the hopes of scoring a monstrous antitrust verdict that could only be satisfied by giving the players equity in the 32 franchises and in turn making Kessler this generation’s Marvin Miller.

Indeed, the last time Kessler came in, he quickly was kicked out.  Though he still has a role in the process, he needs to realize that his clients by all appearances prefer negotiation to litigation, compromise to cataclysm.  If/when he understands that, then his presence won’t jeopardize the process.  Until he does, the risk of an implosion is higher than it needs to be.

22 responses to “Kessler returns to the labor talks on Thursday

  1. Don’t fall for the okie-doke, football fans. This whole “we’re almost there” business is all designed to manipulate our frustration. I say… POINT IT BACK AT BOTH OF ‘EM. Boycott all major sponsors (go to a local pizzeria, have a bbq, buy a micro-brew, etc.) and let these selfish bastards eat cake.

    What about us? We PAY for everything!

  2. I wonder if Kessler is directly responsible for De Smith’s message to players to not believe that a deal is close. It makes sense based on everything that has happened previously.

    Besides the $25 million (NY times) he has made from the NFLPA from 2006-2010 (when he was in the background), he is raking in more now that he is lead council. If a deal is made his huge cash flow is over. Plus the fame that he wants from defeating the NFL in court will never happen. Put the gimp back in his cage! We want football not endless lawsuits!

  3. The Kessler comments are silly. The deal in place is almost identical to the offer the players made the owners during mediation in March. The players then made a starting offer at 50%. The owners walked out in disgust. Now the owners are happy with essentially the same deal that was offered by the players.

    The owners change in stance has nothing to do with Kessler or the players. It is because of two things the possibility of losing pre-season revenue and the real reason for the labor strife the internal fight between owners about revenue sharing. If the owners wanted this deal they could have simply done it in March.

    I think this really tells us that the lockout and this whole crisis never had anything to do with the original deal but rather it was all about making a crisis so the could ditch the revenue sharing deal. The rich owners did not want to subsidize the small market teams. Plus they took advantage of the situation to squeeze an extra 5% out of the players. But the real money here is what they will save on the revenue sharing. Bad news for the small market teams and likely bad news for the overall health of the league.

  4. Kessler returned on Thursday.

    Adam Schefter reported that the talks did not go well today.

    Coincidence? No chance.

  5. From another story further up:

    “Look, someone asked me whether I was optimistic,” Smith said. “I think we’re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we’re talking about the right issues and that we’re working hard to get it done.”

    Hmm, I wonder who he could be talking about?

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