Judge Tells NFL-Players To Zip It

What a quaint way to run a work stoppage. No Twitter. No Facebook. No text messages. No YouTube.

Over the last few days, the NFL and its locked players have been communicating with Judge Susan Richard Nelson up in the Twin Cities via letters and a conference call on Friday morning.

Those old-fashioned means of communication involved the suggestion by Judge Nelson earlier in the week that the owners and players get back to the bargaining table with help from a mediator. She offered to handle the duties under the federal court. The two sides had previously spent 16 days working with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington.

When those discussions did not produce an agreement, the NFL Players Association decertified and the owners locked the doors.

Judge Nelson says it will take her some time to come up with a ruling on the players request for an injunction to end the lockout. In the mean time, she encouraged both sides to get together.

As one might expected given the track record of these parties, they can’t agree on this matter either. The NFL wants to go back to the FMCS and start talks again. The players say that’s a waste of time and produced no agreement, and they favor the court to handle the mediation.

In the last few days, four letters were filed with the court and exchanged between the parties, two from each side discussing their thoughts on mediation. That led to a conference call Friday morning that lasted just over one hour. The last words spoken apparently were by Judge Nelson who told both sides to keep the content of their discussion private and in the strictest confidence.

It will be interesting to see how long that lasts, but right now not the league or the players want to do anything that would tick off Judge Nelson. This legal dance figures to have many episodes ahead, and it’s way too early for either side to go to the mattresses just yet.

Judge Nelson should use this element as a hammer. She should control the mediation, not the FMCS, and she should demand that negotiations begin again soon, even before she hands down her ruling on an injunction. Neither side would balk with the major decision to come.

2 Responses to “Judge Tells NFL-Players To Zip It”

  • April 9, 2011  - txchief says:

    It won’t take long for the playas to show their arses and violate the order. Judge Judy will do nothing.

  • April 9, 2011  - RW says:

    It seems the two sides are at a point where neither can win and the best to hope for is a scenario where neither side loses. There is a distinction and the latter course will happen if a third party is to decide on how the issue is resolved.

    Perhaps the owners and players both know that this is the course likely to unfold? If so, the flour of acrimony will have been baked into future relations for many a moon.

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