A Break in a Cloudy Lockout or Dark Complications?

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Day after day we wait in earnest of news from the NFL negotiations, ever since U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered the mediation to take place two weeks ago. Like two seagulls fighting over an old french-fry like it’s the last one on Earth, the owners and players refuse to give ground. On Wednesday the Sports Business Daily reported on its website about a third party development. A law firm has been contacted by a large group of dissatisfied players comprised of mainly mid-tier players, to file for a right to have a seat in the mediation. The law firm has requested a stipulation of the players to move forward, that is they need to have seventy-five players onboard with the motion.

This signals one of the complications the Players Association risked when they decertified as a union. Few thought that there would be any kind of action from the players save the few who have been representing the non-union players association. However it is no surprise that some players were unhappy with the way negotiations ended before the Players Association decertified. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel said openly to ESPN that abandoning the cause in this way would be the wrong way to demonstrate dissatisfaction.

At the end of the first negotiations the NFL had taken the 18 game season off the table, and both parties had given some ground on the financial end of things.  As we now know, neither had given “enough” to make a deal happen. From the most recent release of the 2011-2012 season schedule, the NFL has clearly signaled their commitment to retain the current schedule system in negotiations.

There has been speculation that both sides have been simply going through the motions for this court ordered mediation because if the judge rules one side will hold the clear advantage over the other. Tragically even when the judge rules, there will a series of appeals to keep things tied up for some time. Even though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remarked,

“I think fans want solution. I want solutions. I think the players want solutions and I think the teams want solutions. That’s why we have to be working at it in negotiations and figuring out how to get to that point.”

As for us the fans, we will continue to wait, in the hopes that this newest development will help break up a cloudy lockout, rather than complicate an already dark situation. Hopefully both sides won’t get too greedy, or it will be the fans that will literally pay in more than one way in the end.

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