NFL team owners and player representatives met again today in an undisclosed location (presumably near Chicago) to continue last week’s CBA discussions. Again, due to a court-mandated confidentiality agreement, there are few details and even fewer specifics to discuss. We know, for sure, that legal teams were once again barred from the proceedings, which could mean that last week’s lawyer-free negotiation sessions were at least successful enough to try again. Aside from that, however, NFL fans are still pretty much in the dark.
This week’s bargaining talks come in the midst of the owners’ appeal trial of the players’ antitrust suit against the league. Both sides have presented their arguments to the three-man 8th Circuit Appeals panel, both legal teams have filed varying writs and cited numerous precedent cases with the hope of invalidating their opponent’s argument and possibly getting either the appeal or the original suit thrown out of court. Either outcome, however, would prolong legal proceedings for at least a number of weeks, possibly months, and both sides seem to be painfully aware now that any further delays would put the 2011 season at risk. Hence the increased focus on negotiation, the absence of legal teams in the bargaining room, and the unanimously upheld gag order. For once, both players and owners seem to really feel the heat, and are beginning to take these talks seriously. Without any reliable specifics, however, only time will tell if this latest round of negotiations will prove any more successful than its predecessors.