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2011 NFL Lockout: Judge Nelson To Force NFL-NFLTA To Mediation

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Soon these chains will be broken
Soon these chains will be broken

Adam Schefter is reporting (via his Twitter feed and ESPN.com) that Judge Nelson has told both sides in the ongoing labor dispute that she'll be forcing them back to the negotiating table to talk things out.

In my opinion this is the best possible move. A ruling (no matter which way it goes), will be setting precedent and most judges would rather follow precedent than set it. There's also some concern over the jurisdiction in this case since the NFL's complaint is still pending before the NLRB. By forcing the two sides together again Judge Nelson can avoid the jursidictional issues and get this thing resolved faster, since a ruling would lead to appeals and eventually a trial, all of which would drag this out for far longer than it needs to be.

Hopefully both sides can bend a little and meet in the middle (which is what compromise is about after all). It sure would be nice to have this issue resolved before the draft. To make that happen I propose locking both sides in a conference room and not letting them out until they get a deal done.

From the article:

Judge Nelson had a one-hour conference call Friday with both sides and said she would use the weekend to figure out a solution, a source told ESPN's John Clayton.

Way back in March Mike Vrabel said:

"We are willing to negotiate, but we don't want to negotiate with Bob Batterman, Jeff Pash or Roger Goodell." "Our executive committee needs to negotiate with Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, Jerry Richardson -- their executive committee. People that are willing and can agree to a deal. Jeff Pash can't agree to a deal."

The NFL's response was quick (and predictable):

"The NFL's negotiating team -- accompanied by the three owners Mike mentioned, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson and Robert Kraft -- is prepared to meet immediately," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "Just tell us when and where."

Of course neither side actually reached out to the other, but now it looks like both sides will get to meet each other again--by court order.