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NFL Lockout: Mediation Sessions Cancelled, Settlement Negotiations Heat Up

Tomorrow morning the NFL and NFLPA will present oral arguments to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. After those arguments, a decision will likely be issued three to four weeks from now. Since the district court ruled for the players things have been fairly silent in regards to any form of progress outside the courtroom. It's possible that might finally be changing.

The NFL and NFLPA (or NFLTA or whatever they're called) have been involved in court-ordered mediation sessions over the last few months. The two sides were scheduled to meet next week for more mediation but those sessions were cancelled. It turns out the two sides are entering into some kind of confidential settlement talks. If I'm understanding this correctly, this would be towards settling the case before the Eighth Circuit. Although that would seemingly not include CBA discussions, the early '90s court settlement included a new CBA deal. So it's possible this could get us on track towards a deal between the two sides.

Although this has to be considered a positive sign, there is still a long way to go before any agreement can be reached. This is particularly positive because the meeting was devoid of lawyers, save for DeMaurice Smith. Although Smith is a lawyer, his inclusion is necessary at this point given his role with the players. Either way, you've got players and owners sitting down face to face for some kind of discussions. Even if it's just about being relatively civil, this is significant. The next week or two could prove pivotal while we wait for a court decision.