The longer the NFL lockout dispute seems to drag out, the less likely the two concerned parties appear to be to inch closer to a possible solution. The latest attempt by US District Judge Susan Nelson to bring the NFL and the NFLPA together has been rebuked by the two sides which apparently can’t set their differences aside regarding the potential scene of such mediated talks. The Judge proposed to preside over a possible round of negotiations herself, but the NFL replied that – while it was ready to return to negotiations with the players – it would only be willing to do so under the mediation of George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The main reason cited by the league’s Jeff Pash was that having acted as a mediator between the two parties for 16 days before the lockout was instituted, Cohen was familiar with the issue and thus negotiations would not have to start off square one again.
The NFLPA (or rather the attorneys representing the players) didn’t like the fact that returning to the FMCS could be interpreted as a resumption of collective bargaining, which would endanger the players’ position in the current situation. Although Pash said the NFL would provide guarantees that it would not attempt to equate the resumption of the talks with collective bargaining, the players rejected his offer citing other reasons like the fact that the 16 days of mediation which Cohen undertook failed to generate the desired results and as such, the entire mediation could be viewed as a failure. Furthermore, according to the attorneys representing the players in the dispute, Cohen did not have binding authority in the matter. The players accepted the Judge’s proposal, however, with the NFL still adamant to take the issue back to the FMCS, things didn’t appear to be going anywhere after an intense exchange of letters among the various concerned parties.
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Thank God that signing up for a rakeback deal makes much more sense than the feverish jockeying of the league and the players, which yet again resulted in nothing but empty talk and wasted time.