NFL, NFLPA Ordered To Enter Mediation Thursday In Minnesota
The NFL and class counsel for the players suing the league to revoke the lockout were ordered today by U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson to enter into mediation starting Thursday in Minneapolis. Few observers give the mediation much of a chance, but the sides must meet with chief magistrate judge Arthur Boylan at 9:00am CT Thursday. Nelson, in signing the order, said the meetings could not be used against either side in court, and would not stay the proceedings.
The NFL’s core legal argument is that the court does not have jurisdiction over the dispute, but Nelson is ordering the mediation within her court district. The NFL was arguing for mediation back in DC at the office of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. But the players rejected that, saying those talks were for when they were a union.
The NFLPA decertified on March 11, though the league contends that was a sham. If the mediation does not lead to a resolution, Nelson is expected to issue her decision next week. If she lifts the lockout, the question then becomes if she will issue a stay while the NFL appeals to the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals. League insiders are far more confident of their chances at the Eighth circuit than in the Minnesota federal court district.