2011 NFL Lockout: Not So Secret Meetings Sign Of Settlement?
By Keith Null
The NFL and NFLPA announced today a second series of meetings between the two sides, under the supervision of Judge Arthur Boylan. This weeks meeting seems to be a continuation of last weeks as they attempt to reach an agreement before the start of pre-season games (60 days) or worse yet the opening game of the regular season on September 8th.
The usual suspects were in attendance, on the NFL side — Roger Goodell, Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (New England), Dean Spanos (San Diego) and John Mara (N.Y. Giants).
Representing the players — Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth— as well as the NFLPA’s executive director DeMaurice Smith.
No one can be for sure exactly what progress has been made as neither side will comment on the specifics. What is known is they are working diligently to end the lockout and restore regular football operations.
Last Friday the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal heard final arguments from both sides on the NFL’s appeal to block the injunction won by the players last month.
However even though no conclusion was reached the Judges involved urged the two side to continue negotiations and warned their decision would not make anyone involved very happy.
Likely the luke-warm responses in appeals court stoked the fires of negotiations leading us to the latest series of talks. Apparently no one wants to leave the decision in in the hands of the court.
Brady v. NFL may see a settlement before too long, Judge Boylan seemed to indicated this was the case last week when he termed the meetings as “settlement” talks. That of course would mean an end to the lockout if they can reach an acceptable agreement. Easier said then done.
Even if the NFL settles with the players there is still a loose end in all of this, the legal battle over the television money,still not decided after last month’s trial in front of Judge David Doty.
That case dealt with the owners failing to “act in the best interest of the players” by negotiating television deals that gave up billions in revenues in order to protect themseleves from major losses during a possible lockout — aka the lockout fund.
While the players are seeking a preliminary injunction in that case, they are also seeking a multimillion dollar damages (possibly into the billions), as well as an injunction that would prevent the NFL from receiving the revenue if no NFL games are played during the lockout.