Federal Judge Susan Nelson has ordered the NFL and attorneys representing players suing the league to engage in court-supervised mediation that will begin later this week. Nelson also said she is still considering whether to grant the players' request for a preliminary injunction to end the league's lockout that began on March 12.
Nelson said mediation will begin Thursday before Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan at his office in a Minneapolis courthouse. Boylan will meet with player representatives on Tuesday and then with NFL representatives on Wednesday.
The NFL and NFL Players Association met with federal mediator George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services for 16 days in late February and early March before talks broke down on March 11. The NFLPA decertified later that day, and 10 players, including quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league. The players also requested an injunction to lift the lockout.
Nelson held a hearing in St. Paul, Minn. last Wednesday, during which she discussed the matter with attorneys from both sides for nearly six hours. After the hearing, she offered to have the parties engage in mediation, and said she would need "a couple of weeks" to decide whether to grant the injunction.