SPECIAL EDITION: Why mediation failed.
The reason the NFL's owners and players couldn't reach an agreement through mediation is because of something I've been saying for some months. Without a court ruling, there was no motivation to mediate. Both sides felt there was a better remedy through the legal system. The players believed Judge Susan Nelson will rule in their favor and her ruling will hold on appeal. They would then have the hammer. The owners feel if Nelson rules against the owners, then the owners can win on appeal, and the lockout would continue. The owners would have the hammer.
It wouldn't matter if some of the greatest negotiators in the history of mankind were overseeing these talks, without proper motivation, mediation is impossible.
Thus now mediation is likely dead for similar reasons. Again, it's about motivation. The players want to wait and see what Nelson decides. If Nelson rules in their favor, no need to mediate. They have the hammer. If that ruling holds up on appeal that hammer becomes even more weighty. That's not mediation. That's a victory.
If Nelson rules for the owners, they have the hammer. If Nelson's ruling in their favor held up on appeal, they have the win. All the owners would then have to do is wait out the players until they ran out of money. The owners wouldn't mediate until players started going broke because they'd have the major advantage and trust me, the owners would use it. They'd want the players to suffer because then the owners could eventually get a better deal for themselves.
That's why this was written . It's not about being negative. It's about being realistic.
The good news is Nelson's ruling -- which could come as early as Friday -- will start us down the road of ending this chaos. Start us. Doesn't end the conflict but it gives us a waypoint. That would be some good news, right?