U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the federal magistrate tasked with overseeing the mediation between the National Football League and the former NFL Players’ Association, assigned weekend homework to both sides after a second day of court-ordered negotiations ended with no signs of significant progress. The two sides met for about four hours on Friday, following nine hours of meetings on Thursday. Both sides are scheduled to meet again with Judge Boylan on Tuesday, April 20, 2011.
Former Minnesota Viking and Hall of Famer Carl Eller, who is representing retired players in a companion antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, was present at the Minnesota courthouse and said he thinks the two sides are “moving forward” but the process “slowed a little bit” Friday. “There is progress, but it wasn’t like we’re right around the corner,” Eller said. “We could resolve it if we had met on the weekend, but maybe not.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered the sides to mediate their billion dollar differences while she considers the former players’ request to lift the lockout imposed by the Owners. After the April 6, 2011 hearing, she said she planned to rule on the players’ injunction request in a couple of weeks – which by my calculation – would mean any day now.