Much akin to a pair of children squabbling for the last piece of cake being chastised by their mother, the current 'war' between the NFLPA and the NFL looks to be interrupted by their own 'mom', in the form of Judge Susan Richard Nelson. Nelson, who heard the players appeal of the NFL lockout last week, has reportedly told both sides that she will impose forced mediation on them early this week, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
According to reports, Judge Nelson called both sides Friday in a one-hour conference call and said she would use the weekend to figure out a solution, a source told ESPN's John Clayton.
This enforcement comes on the heals of Judge Nelson urging the two sides to reopen negotiations during last weeks trial, and while this is a step in the right direction, it is clearly a plea by the judge to get this resolved before she has to make a verdict on the players motion to lift the lockout of the owners.
As reported, she is not expected to make a ruling on that case for several weeks.
With this decision, however, comes another round of arguments between the tow sides, this time over where these negotiations will take place. The league wants the mediation to take place in Washington D.C. Under federal mediator George Cohen, who presided over 16 sessions leading up to the union decertifying on March 11, followed hours later by the owners locking out the players, while it appears that Cohen and the NFL Players' Association wants it done in Minnesota.
Wherever it ends up presiding, a few things has already been made clear. The owners wont use a meeting with members of the NFL Players executive committee or members of the decertified NFLPA against the plaintiffs in the Tom Brady lawsuit filed in Nelson's federal court in St. Paul, Minn. And owners who have decision making ability will be present.
Though no positive outcome is guaranteed through forced mediation, it should be looked at as a positive sign that things will be worked out before the start of the season.
Because some talking is better than no talking, right?