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Secret meeting, or secret party?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    NFL owners hold secret meeting in Chicago Wednesday
    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on June 1, 2011, 9:28 PM EDT


    [​IMG]
    AP

    One week after the meeting in Indianapolis, a smaller group of NFL owners met Wednesday in a western suburb of Chicago.

    Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were among those who arrived in the Chicago area on Tuesday before leaving Wednesday. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was also believed to be present.

    The men flew in and out of DuPage Airport, a small airport that handles private jets. We could try to speculate what the men were discussing beyond “labor strategy” but the reality is we just don’t know. For fans looking for a kernel of optimism, it’s a good sign that the big boys are talking in advance of Friday’s appeal. We wonder who else was in the area, if anyone.

    The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an appeal regarding whether the lockout will be lifted on Friday, June 3.
     
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Making sense of the not-so-secret ownership meeting
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 1, 2011, 11:30 PM EDT



    Rosenthal opted not to speculate earlier tonight regarding the possible reasons for the reported Chicago-area meeting involving several owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell. For starters, the various owners who reportedly attended — Pats owner Robert Kraft, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson — are members of the team negotiating a new labor deal. So (and excuse us while we venture far onto a limb here) the meeting most likely was related to the ongoing labor dispute.

    The next lockout-related development comes on Friday, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit takes up arguments regarding whether the lockout will be lifted. But there’s nothing for the owners to do at this point; it’s a matter that’s currently in the hands of the lawyers.

    On Monday, June 6, the NFL must formally respond to the complaint in the Tom Brady antitrust action. That’s another function for the lawyers, which will require little or no direct input from owners — and definitely not a full-blown sit-down.

    On Tuesday, June 7, mediation is scheduled to continue in Minneapolis, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan. It could be, then, that the negotiating team got together to make specific decisions for approaching the next set of talks. If the two judges who have ruled both in favor of a temporary stay and a full stay send signals via their questions and comments making clear their willingness to allow the lockout to remain in place, the players could be softened up and ready to be receptive to a significant move by the NFL closer to its bottom-line position.

    Given that the full ownership met last week in Indianapolis and in light of the requirement that at least 24 of them must approve any offers made to the players, it could be that the owners voted in Indy to give Goodell and the negotiating team a new ceiling of authority, and that the negotiating team met separately to come up with a plan for using it once mediation resumes in six days.

    Whatever the specific reason for the clandestine Chicago-area meeting, it had to be something sufficiently important to justify a face-to-face session, and not a conference call.
     
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Not-so-secret meeting was lawyer-free (except for De)
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 2, 2011, 11:02 AM EDT


    For months, key figures on each side of the NFL’s labor dispute have called for negotiations to occur without the lawyers present.

    Finally, it has happened.

    Updating and clarifying prior information on the Chicago-area meeting between the league and representatives of the NFLPA*, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that no lawyers attended, with the exception of NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith. Accompanying Smith were NFLPA* president Kevin Mawae and Executive Committee members Jeff Saturday and Mike Vrabel.

    Attending for the NFL were Commissioner Roger Goodell, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-0wner John Mara, and Steelers owner Art Rooney.

    The fact that five owners participated when a rotation of four have been attending court-ordered mediation sessions is a positive sign, but the absence of men like Jeff Pash, Bob Batterman, Jim Quinn, and Jeff Kessler represents the best news. It means that the two sides are moving toward trying to find a win-win solution, with the lawyers left to iron out the details after a consensus is reached on the bigger issues.
     
  4. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Labor talks continuing Thursday, mediator in the mix
    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on June 2, 2011, 11:53 AM EDT


    News out of Chicago regarding the clandestine meeting between NFL and NFLPA* representatives continues to leak, and most of it sounds positive for everyone hoping for progress in labor talks.

    Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that talks between the two sides have continued Thursday, and are expected to wrap up mid-day. Since we saw a picture of Patriots owner Robert Kraft leaving Chicago last night, presumably not all of the original parties at the session remain in attendance.

    Maske also reveals that mediator Arthur Boylan was present during Wednesday’s talks. Those conversations began over dinner on Tuesday, when NFL Commissioner, NFLPA* head DeMaurice Smith, and other representatives from both sides quietly broke bread.

    The two sides will presumably see each other again in court on Friday in St. Louis, when the appeal is heard over the lifting of the lockout.
     
  5. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Are we finally getting somewhere?

    Next week’s mediation session has been canceled
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 2, 2011, 3:40 PM EDT


    After the NFL and the NFLPA* spent two days engaged in not-so-secret settlement talks in Chicago, the federal court in Minnesota has canceled formal mediation scheduled to reconvene on June 7.

    Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the cancellation has indeed occurred, with the federal court explaining that “it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with the parties.”

    This could mean that communications will continue, either in person or via other means, into next week and beyond.

    It makes sense for the mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, to push the parties to try to settle the case now, before the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling on whether the lockout will be lifted. After a final ruling is issued, one side will have a lot more leverage. For now, the uncertainty can be used by both sides to strike a win-win deal.

    That’s why, in our view, it’s incumbent on the NFL to be prepared to make an offer aimed genuinely at restoring labor peace, without regard to the concept of winning the best possible deal.
     
  6. Harley

    Harley BoltTalker

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    settled by sunday?
     
  7. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    We can only, wish!
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Keeping the lawyers out will be the key to progress
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 2, 2011, 9:14 PM EDT


    Somehow, the NFL and the NFLPA* found a way to meet for the last two days without any lawyers present. It’s something for which key figures on each side of the dispute have been clamoring for months, dating back to influential and respected Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in the days preceding the Super Bowl.

    “In my opinion, we could get a deal done in the next week,” Kraft said in early February. “If business people sat down on both sides, and we tried to get the lawyers in the background. . . . Get lawyers away from table. Lawyers are deal breakers, not deal makers.”

    Moving forward, the challenge will be to continue to talk without the lawyers potentially screwing things up with their overthinking and/or hidden agendas. It’s a door that swings both ways, with the importance of keeping lead players’ counsel Jeffrey Kessler away from the process equal to the importance of keeping NFL general counsel Jeff Pash away from the process. Ditto for Jim Quinn on the players’ side and Bob Batterman on the league’s side.

    That’s not intended to be a slap at any of those four men. It’s just a reflection of the reality that the folks charged with making important decisions and then living with them have developed strong feelings regarding the lawyers working for the other side. The smart move, then, is to get the lawyers out of the room, regardless of whether the perceptions regarding the motivations of the lawyers are or aren’t accurate.

    As to the perceptions applicable to the key lawyers in this controversy, there’s a strong sense that the players simply don’t trust Pash or Batterman. Even if both men are completely trustworthy in all matters great and small, rebuilding trust between the NFL and the players is far more important at this point that tiptoeing around Pash’s or Batterman’s feelings. It’s time to get a deal done, and thus it’s time for anyone who may be an impediment to the process to happily stand down.

    Ditto for Kessler, who widely is perceived as hoping to shove down the players’ throats an agenda of litigation without negotiation, in the hopes of eventually securing a mammoth, landmark antitrust award that can then be leveraged into the most player-friendly deal in the history of sports, securing his legacy as the next Marvin Miller — and simultaneously squandering one or two years of the football careers of the men whom Kessler is supposed to be representing.

    It’s an easy solution, then. The league benches Pash and Batterman, the NFLPA* benches Kessler, and the business people focus on the business of doing a business deal, sooner rather than later.

    Congrats to the two sides for apparently figuring this one out. Let’s see if it sticks.
     
  9. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Oral arguments end, judge encourages sides to negotiate
    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on June 3, 2011, 12:50 PM EDT



    Now we wait. Again.

    Oral arguments have concluded Friday in St. Louis, where the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals heard arguments regarding whether Judge Susan Nelson’s lifting of the lockout will be overturned or not.

    Judge Kermit Bye encouraged both sides to continue working towards an agreement in coming days. Albert Breer of NFL.com reports Bye said the ruling will come in “due course” and that would be one “neither side would like.” Bye reportedly encouraged the two sides to work their problems out on their own.

    The question now becomes whether the Eighth Circuit will monitor negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA* and possibly hold their ruling if progress is being made.

    Players and owners have a window to make some progress in the meantime. As fans, we can only hope they begin to feel the urgency.
     
  10. Harley

    Harley BoltTalker

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    c'mon sunday...
     

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