MINNEAPOLIS, MN (Sports Network) – Still trying to mend their differences, representatives for the NFL and its players concluded their fourth day of court-ordered mediation Wednesday.
But no agreement in the labor dispute is expected soon and it will be nearly a month before the sides even meet again to attempt to hash things out.
“We’re going to be back here on May 16th to continue the mediation. I think everybody believes it was helpful,” Jim Quinn, outside counsel for the players, said Wednesday.
The second round of mediation is being overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan. Players are still awaiting a ruling by District Judge Susan Nelson on whether or not to act on their request for an injunction to lift the NFL lockout, which has been in place since March 12.
That decision should come before the sides meet again next month. As for the current round of mediation, both sides believe it has been helpful.
“I think this was a valuable process,” said Jeff Pash, counsel for the NFL. “I don’t think a single minute of it was wasted time and I think the effort and the sincerity and the creativity that [Boylan] brought to the process was exemplary and is going to be very helpful to us down the road.”
Also on Wednesday, SportsBusiness Journal reported on a possible rift between the high-profile players involved in the current talks, and a group of as many as 70 “mid-tier” players it said were close to filing a motion to intervene.
The report said the players were looking for a seat at the mediation table.
A post on NFLLockout.com — a website the players’ union has used since it decertified — showed what it called a solicitation letter from a law firm looking to secure players.
The NFL labor dispute, of course, centers around how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues as well as other issues including a rookie wage scale, regular season expansion and benefits for retired players.
“We’ll be back here ready to make a deal because that’s the only way we’re going to solve this problem,” said Pash.