With the current break in the labor talks now at four days and counting, Monday’s developments include an intriguing twist, about which it’s hard to make much sense absent context.
Barry Wilner of the Associated Press reports that a small group of players met on Monday with their lawyers. The meeting occurred in Minneapolis.
Writes Wilner: “A person familiar with the situation says the players’ side met on its own, without owners. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no labor developments are being made public.”
Except, of course, for the developments that were deliberately leaked to Wilner, who covers pro football for a wire service capable of getting the word out to the broadest possible audience.
And that makes us wonder what message the players are trying to send. Possibly, the players want the NFL to realize that they remain willing to push the litigation process, which many owners believe lawyers Jeffrey Kessler (pictured) and Jim Quinn aggressively are advocating. Without knowing who precisely is attending, it’s hard to know what it means.
If, for example, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith isn’t present, the chances of Kessler and Quinn persuading the players to hold firm and, if necessary, miss games could increase.
Without knowing more about the specific dynamics of the talks, it’s hard to know what this news means. But we doubt that the information accidentally was revealed to Wilner, and it’s safe to assume that the report has surfaced for a reason. The simplest explanation would be that the players want the owners to know that the desire to get a deal doesn’t equate to giving the owners their way on the many issues unrelated to the revenue split.
As to the choice of the location — Minneapolis — Occam’s Razor would suggest that the next wave of undisclosed meetings between the league and the players will occur in that same area. In fact, it’s possible (and, at this point, preferred) that the talks return to the federal courthouse in Minneapolis, with Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan taking control and instructing the parties that they’ll be staying in town until the deal gets done.