The 8th circuit court finally made a ruling today. The judges ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL to grant a stay through the appeal, which will be heard on June 3rd. This is a big win for the owners and it should be noted the judges who voted 2-1 in favor of the NFL are also the same judges who will rule on the appeal hearing on June 3rd. One of the biggest statements of the ruling comes on page 11 of the ruling: "Our present view is that Judge Nelson's interpretation is unlikely to prevail."
That's likely big-time foreshadowing. Unless there is something that comes out of the mandatory mediation's today and tomorrow, it's likely there will be absolutely no football until at least late-July. There has been reports of a "breakthrough" so to speak in negotiations. The court asked the NFL to draw up a new proposal, and surprisingly the NFL agreed to.
Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports, citing Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, that a breakthrough has occurred in the negotiations. Eller, who is one of the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by former players and consolidated with the Tom Brady antitrust case, said that U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan asked the owners at the outset of the day to make a new proposal, and the owners have agreed to do so.
Currently, the proposal is being formulated. Per Paolantonio, the players are very encouraged by the developments, and we think they should be. Given that the players never responded to the league's March 11 offer, the NFL easily could have balked at the request to make a new offer as an invitation to bid against itself. By agreeing to make a new offer, the NFL has shown good faith, which possibly has helped to thaw the relationship between the two sides, at least a little.
The mediation will continue on Monday night until 9:00 p.m. CT, and Paolantonio said the overall mood is improving. The session is scheduled to continue tomorrow only.
It is possible for the sessions to be extended. We'll see how it plays out. Let's hope the NFL makes a reasonable offer and the NFLPA feels compelled to accept it.