Progress in NFL Talks?

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – In a possible sign of progress, a federal magistrate on Thursday canceled the June 7-8 mediation session in the Tom Brady v. NFL class action, which threatens this year’s pro football season.

     In a terse order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan wrote: “Whereas, the Court has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions involving the above captioned matter, it deems it appropriate to cancel the mediation session previously scheduled in Minneapolis for June 7 and June 8.”
     Players want the league and its 32 teams to open their books to verify that they are getting a square deal on revenue sharing, among other things. They dissolved their union and filed an antitrust class action against the league and its owners.
     The league and owners call the dissolution of the players’ union a sham, and say the dispute should be handled by the National Labor Relations Board, a more time-consuming process that would presumably lock in place the status quo ante.
     Owners locked out the players and appear ready to scrub the season.
     Judge Boylan’s 2-paragraph order does not indicate whether progress is being made in the mediation, but the sports press, citing “secret talks” this week in Chicago, reported today that progress appears to be being made.
     The 8th Circuit today (Friday), in St. Louis, will hear arguments on a preliminary injunction in the lockout.
     U.S. District Judge David Doty, in Minneapolis, is mulling damages for players in a multibillion-dollar case involving TV rights.
     Retired players have filed a complaint of their own.

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