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Little incentive for progress during mediated NFL talks

Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tuesday marks the second of a two-day renewal of court-mediated bargaining sessions directed at the formulation of a new NFL collective bargaining agreement.

Chances are, nothing will get done.

Despite the owners’ posturing as they headed into Monday's session — “We’d like to make progress,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said — there really is no incentive for anyone to make any headway. Here are three theories why.

Leverage

Read the court situation as you wish, but the owners still have all the leverage, and will continue to have it even after Minnesota District Court Judge David S. Doty hands down the damages, probably Thursday, for the owners’ ill-gotten $4 billion of TV money. Anybody who thinks a win for the players is going to change things should have his head examined. Even if Doty bangs the owners for the players desired $707 million times three, the bosses won’t be predisposed to either hand over a certified check or scurry to the settlement table. They’ll appeal.

Speaking of appeals

The big date is June 3, when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the league’s request to keep the lockout in place permanently. Doing anything before a ruling, which could come down as late as mid-July, would be foolhardy for the owners. Rooney brazenly admitted as much when he said “We’ll have to see what happens June 3.” The owners hope that the players buckle at the potential loss of their $300,000 minimum paychecks, sign a blank CBA, and let the owners fill in the numbers. At this point, though, that’s not gonna happen.

Abject stupidity

The idiocy on both sides for their inability to split $9 billion equitably cancels each other out. Ergo, inertia. Along with that comes a deafness to logic. When a reasonable mind like Colts owner Jimmy Irsay tweets “Jeff Saturday and I could get this thing done on cocktail napkins over a long lunch at Rick’s Boatyard; it’s not that hard,” or Giants defensive end Justin Tuck tells the New York Daily News, “I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how selfish [the NFL’s labor problem] sounds,” the negotiators ought to take notice. Fat chance.

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