NFL Players and NFL Owners begin Mediation

Posted Friday, April 15, 2011 by Ed Harper

The two sides are talking – at least for now. Not since March 11th have the players association and the NFL owners sat down together to discuss their differences. However, the parties have been told they must be at the negotiation table – as ordered by the Federal Judge overseeing their case.

This mandate makes the progress less likely as parties who are merely filling an obligation are less invested in the process than two willing participants.

The parties have a lot to lose if they cannot come to an agreement – more than $9 billion in annual revenue is up for grabs. The owners claim their accounting is completely transparent. The disagreement regarding the sharing of this revenue led the owners to lock-out the players starting early in March. The NFL players union was disbanded following the owners action in March of this year in order to allow for the players lawsuit – filed in Federal court in Minnesota.

The mediation, under the direction of Chief Magistrate Arthur Boylan started on Thursday and the parties have stated they will keep talking as long as progress is being made. Federal Judge Susan Nelson who ordered the mediation will be issuing a ruling on the players attempt to end the lock-out presumably by the end of the April.

Mediation of disputes is usually the best method to have a say in the decision making process of ending a legal dispute. If forced to go to trial, the parties will allow either the judge or jury to decide the fate of their dispute. The risk goes up dramatically, if mediation fails and in this case, there is a lot to lose.

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