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More Talks (And Hope) In NFL's Labor Impasse

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More Talks (And Hope) In NFL's Labor Impasse

As first reported by Chris Mortensen for ESPN earlier this morning, the NFL and the former players union are once again holding face to face meetings where the main focus is on working out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This latest round of talks is being held outside of Washington D.C. (somewhere in Maryland, reportedly) and unlike the last two sessions, both sides have included outside council in their negotiating teams.

Also from this morning, Mark Maske at the Washington Post gives us the following:

The NFL and locked out players have made enough progress in their recent negotiations that a deal between the two sides is within reach during the next two or three weeks, people on both sides of the dispute said Tuesday.

Now, football fans are no doubt thrilled to read the bolded part, but any enthusiasm needs to be tempered - at least a bit. But the signs are good, especially in light of Eric Edholm's report in ProFootballWeekly last week:

Sources have indicated to PFW that June 21, which is when the NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago, might be a date to circle on the calendar. The reason for the escalated talks might indicate that the owners want to have a deal — or parameters of a deal — to vote on when they all assemble for the meeting.

Couple that with this from Adam Schefter this morning:

FWIW: League sent memo to teams last night, advising them to be prepared to stay overnight during next Tuesday's NFL meetings in Chicago.

It's clear that next week will be pivotal in the attempts to get an agreement between the two parties in time enough to save training camp and the regularly scheduled start of the 2011 season.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

fishandcrane's picture

I used to know of this "American football"

ZeroTolerance's picture

A glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

PackersRS's picture

Just when things were getting better, comes this report:

OOOHH!! Here comes the spooky lawyers! Them gonna rob us of our will and make us do something we don't want to! It was a lawyer that killed JFK!

ProFootballTalk once again show their ignorance (which surprises me, given that Florio himself is a lawyer. But then again, he doesn't practice anymore...).

If the lawyers are returning to the table, it probably means that both parties are closer to an agreement now, and want the lawyers close to go over the details and seal the deal, as Adam Schefter reported.

Lawyers =/= litigation

andrewgarda's picture

Yeah actually I think lawyers showing up would mean that maybe the 'finer points' of a deal need to be looked over. Or the 'fine print'. Something fine.

packeraaron's picture

RS, did you click the link I used to note outside council was involved? I have no problem saying the inclusion of the lawyers at this juncture is a very, very good thing.

PackersRS's picture

I actually had not, was just going by what would be a natural conclusion given the stage of the negotiations.

It's one thing to have lawyers come right after early, short meetings. It usually means litigation.

It's another thing when there's a long process of negotiations, specially if it's during the litigation process. It means they're trying to end it and settle, or, in this case, form a CBA.

I've probably already used this analogy, but lawyers are instruments. It's how you use them. MarkinMadison made a much better argument than what I'm trying to make...

In essence, the lawyers were brought in by the NFLPA, because decertification and litigation was their trump card. Now, it's not their function. And thanks God for that.

About time we get a deal done and get back to what really matters. Money. I mean, the game.

DaveK's picture

Sounds like they are making real progress...awesome. Kick the lawyers out to regain trust and agree to basic parameters of a deal that both sides can live with. Then bring back the lawyers to work out the details within that framework.

The most encouraging sign to me is that both sides have tamped down the PR spin machine. You stop blaming the other side for the impasse when you think a deal looks like it is going to get done.

FITZCORE1252's picture

"Kick the lawyers out to regain trust and agree to basic parameters of a deal that both sides can live with. Then bring back the lawyers to work out the details within that framework."

My sources tell me that is in fact why the Pond Scum I mean Lawyers ('cept you RS) have been brought back in the fold.


WoodyG's picture

Why wait weeks for something you can do in a few days ? ......

Per CBSsports ....

" One source with intimate knowledge of the discussions tells me negotiations are 80-85 percent complete. They've made such fast progress, I'm told, it's catching many of the principals by surprise. Some are now canceling vacations, believing an agreement will be reached within a matter of days. "

packeraaron's picture

Just Tweeted about this - I've been told by two separate sources that there is "no way" this happens in "a couple of days." Both sides hoping to announce just before the 4th of July weekend.

WoodyG's picture

I'm reading 'days' as seven or less .... Next week right after the owners sign off at their little get-together (6/21)..... That's my guess ....

But I hear ya ..... My butcher & my next door neighbor say it can't be done in a couple of days either ..... LOL.

FITZCORE1252's picture

My sources tell me a deal is imminent.


MarkinMadison's picture

I want the names of your sources and the link to your thumbnail. :-)

PackersRS's picture


FITZCORE1252's picture

If I divulge their names, my sources will kick me out of the loop. Surely you don't want that... who's gonna tell you a deal is imminent?

And great news, since I first posted that... we're even closer to a deal! Yay!

DaveK's picture

Per PFT:

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the lawyers nearly “blew up the process” on Tuesday. Ultimately, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith was compelled to instruct Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn to “stand down.”

PackersRS's picture

- The negotiations almost blew up after the lawyers entered.
- The lawyers were instructed to stand down.

It doesn't say anywhere that they caused the disturbance.

Quoting Schefter himself, and not PFT...

"During negotiations in the winter, many around the league worried that the lawyers were controlling the process. But Tuesday's events are the strongest evidence to date that they are not."

"Multiple sources familiar with the talks said progress is being made, but they cautioned that there's "a lot of drama and a lot of room for mistakes left.""

"To say this is going to be done in two weeks, one source said, "is borderline insane." The sides are meeting again Wednesday in Maryland, in larger groups, and more meetings are expected next week."

I'm here betting that a new CBA gets announced by the weekend of the 4th of July. It just makes too much sense PR wise. Plus, the final date to get a deal done without jeopardizing preseason is July 15th.

DaveK's picture

RS - You must be a lawyer in the way you try to explain away the article's clear implication that the lawyers almost scuttled the process.

From the article:

"Fact is, the moment came shortly after lawyers from both sides were brought back into the process at an undisclosed location in the Washington, D.C., area. As tensions rose and anger grew two sources said NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith instructed his lawyers to "stand down.

With the lawyers removed from the direct negotiations, the process was said to get back on track and to a good spot."

PackersRS's picture

I am a lawyer. That doesn't have anything to do with anything. That thought process is just rational thinking. Specially when you talk about the article's IMPLICATION.

If there's one thing that the media is great at, is putting a spin in a story. There's always bias by their part. Specially with a site such as ProFootballTalk, and specially with Mike Florio (who, ironically, is a laywer). Schefter is one of the most respected reporters out there, and I do trust his judgement more than others, but he did not attend the meetings, and can't affirm anything. Everything he's reporting has come from his sources, who themselves have put a spin in the facts.

I'm not saying for a fact that the lawyers aren't causing more delay and more discord.

What I'm stating are truths, that the lawyers weren't hired to delay the talks, and it does not serve them purpose to do so, as their reputations are on the line; while it may give them an extra month or so of payment from their current clients, striking a fair and quick deal would do PR wonders for them.

They were hired to defend their clients, and that's what they're doing. To portrait them as the main culprits in this lockout (and that's what the media is doing) is completely false. Moreso, it serves an agenda. It allows the NFLPA and the NFL to save face and still retain popularity after battling like spoiled brats for money.

While some folks may be gullable enough to buy that regurgitated crap the media is feeding them, that both parties actually want to strike a deal, but the evil lawyers are getting in a way, I'm not.

DaveK's picture

I wonder why if the lawyers were not part of the problem why they were told to "stand down". I wonder why after they booted from the process it was reported "to get back on track and to a good spot." Just a clever negotiating good cop/bad cop tactic? Or, maybe these lawyers are self-interested without any actual skin in the game and care more about winning (for PR reasons) then negotiating a fair deal.

PackersRS's picture

I wonder why they were hired in the first place then? Or did they just show up and started collecting checks?

Keep thinking that it's the laywers' fault and that the owners and players actually care about you and the game and not about the money...

DaveK's picture

They were hired to litigate the other side into submission if the initial negotiations didn't move the ball forward.

MarkinMadison's picture

Uh, no. And believe me, if life has taught me only one thing, it is that journalists as often as not write stories. Many times they are based on facts. Seldom do the reporters have enough facts to understand what happened. And as a lawyer involved, I suck it up and stay quiet.

PackersRS's picture

Lol "litigate the other side into submission"?

You don't have much idea how the system works, do you?

"I'm gonna litigate the shit out of you, if you don't ...!" I like that phrase. Gonna start using it to intimidate people. You just have to substitute the last part with what you want from the other person.

WoodyG's picture

Nice try RS but your comments up & down this page indicate an extreme bias on your part .... Although I don't believe the owners or players can be diverted solely by their lawyers, I do believe that lawyers on both sides in this case are motivated by monetary & reputation gains .....

Simply put, the lawyers on both sides are not in this for the 'good of the game' ..... At the same time the owners & players know that their monetary gains are directly tied to the 'good of the game' ..... Big difference ....

After the dust settles with a new CBA in place, both the owners & players will still be around .... The lawyers will be back to listening for those faint siren sounds in the distant ....

DaveK's picture

I'm not talking about all negotiations that involve lawyers but I am commenting on this one and an article by a respected Adam Schefter that clearly indicates the inclusion of lawyers into the negotiation threatened to scuttle the process. You apparently are willing to dismiss this report because your experience doesn't jive with these specific negotiations or maybe you just have an emotional need to defend lawyers.

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