Attorneys representing the NFL and the 10 named plaintiffs in an antitrust suit against the league spoke on a conference call this morning with Judge Susan Nelson, who is presiding over the case in which the players have requested a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout.
The parties spoke for about an hour, and were told by Nelson that all aspects of the conversation be held in strict confidence.
Nelson has offered to act as a mediator between the two sides before she rules on the injunction request. She said on Wednesday that she would need "a couple of weeks" to decide the case, and then offered to serve as a mediator between the two sides.
The players' attorneys accepted Nelson's offer in a letter to the judge on Thursday, but the league's attorneys requested that George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services serve as the mediator. Cohen was the mediator for 17 days of discussions between the league and the NFL Players Association before talks broke off on March 11.
The NFLPA decertified that day, and the NFL instituted a lockout the following day.
Nelson's hearing on Wednesday lasted nearly six hours, during which she grilled NFL attorney David Boies on his contention that the Nelson had no jurisdiction over the matter because of stipulations in the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932. Nelson also indicated that she considered the NFLPA's decertification valid.
In the meantime, the NFLPA has filed a request with the court that executive director DeMaurice Smith, who was a practicing attorney before being elected to the post in 2009, be added to the legal team representing the players. It is expected that the request will be granted.