Players, owners remain at standoff on mediation

Players, owners remain at standoff on mediation
April 8, 2011, 1:56 am
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By TomE. Curran

So where do things stand with the NFL lockout one day after the two sides appeared in federal court? Back-to-back, arms crossed, refusing to budge. Chiefs linebacker and former Patriot Mike Vrabel told me via e-mail Thursday morning that he was "very impressed with our lead counsel Jim Quinn as well as Jeff Kessler who assisted him."He added, "Judge Nelson was extremely prepared to hear the case and we look forward, as the court suggested, to resume settlement talks under federal mediation."Later in the day, the players released a similar statement.
The key here is that the players want to meet with a mediator to settle their lawsuit, not to reach agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Once the lawsuit is settled, then they want to negotiate a new CBA.
The owners, meanwhile, want the lawsuit to go away so the sides can resume CBA negotiations. They want mediation, too, but their recommendation is to get back with federal mediator George Cohen and work towards a new contract agreement. And neither will likely budge too soon unless Judge Nelson forces both sides into mediation under her jurisdiction. Absent that, they'll stand back-to-back, arms crossed, as they wait for her ruling on the players' anti-trust lawsuit. And then they'll wait until the losing side's appeal is decided. All of which could drag out for months, into the summer.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled lockout. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran