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NFL Labor News: Judge Nelson Orders Players And League To Mediation

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Or she's going to, in any case. She will officially order it tomorrow, but she has informed both sides that that's going to be her decision, according to the National Football Post.

This is similar to what has happened with similar collective bargaining negotiations in the past. . .Judge David Doty has come out and spoken to the effect of, "Well, I can make a decision on this for you. . .but if I make the decision, neither one of you are going to like it, so it's probably best that you sit down and try to work this out."

Now, this may sound like a positive step. . .but if I may quote the well-known disposable lighter distribution magnate, Winston Wolf, let's not start truckin' each other's Bics quite yet.

For starters, Judge Nelson still has to decide on a venue for the mediation. The NFLPA wants to mediate in Minneapolis, where they feel as though they have sort of a "home field" advantage, based on their successes in the past. On the other hand, the NFL wants to negotiate in Washington, D.C. A decision on that is expected later this week.

There's one other element to the NFP's story that strikes me as kind of odd. DeMaurice Smith has been added to the legal team for the NFLPA. . .er, the artists formerly known as the NFLPA. . .so he can be involved in the negotiations. Now, I'm not a legal expert or anything, as I've said on more than one occasion, but I was under the impression that the NFLPA had decertified. I'm probably under this impression because everybody had been told that the NFLPA had decertified. Yet the head of this union. . .former union, whatever. . .is now directly involved in the mediation process.

If the league wanted to make the case that the NFLPA's decertification was a sham. . .this would provide a rather convincing argument, would it not? I mean, I think we all know that as soon as some sort of an agreement is reached, the player's union is going to re-form, whether it's under the name of the NFLPA or under some other name for the same purpose. You would think that they would attempt to make it a little less obvious, though, wouldn't you?

Oh, well, back to the mediation table we go, apparently. We'll see if anything actually comes of this or if we're simply in for more of the same.