Players and NFL Want to Talk - Sort of

DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 03: NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah (R) speaks as players look on during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3 2011 in Dallas Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The NFL and the players are still far apart from each other. Need evidence? Look no further than the latest reports coming out after U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson suggested that both sides would be better off negotiating - a suggestion that both parties agreed on. The NFL and the players now can't agree on where such a negotiating meeting should be held or who the mediator in the process would be.

The players have issued statements indicating that they would be willing to come to the table in St. Paul, MN and have the session be overseen by Judge Nelson to settle the case out of court. The owners countered with an offer to meet on the opposite side of the country to meet with Federal mediator George Cohen. In a letter of response to the player's professed interest in negotiations, Jeffrey Pash, the lead negotiator for the NFL commented on the situation saying,

We are prepared to resume discussions as promptly as possible and to have significant ownership involvement in those discussions. Our thought would be to resume discussions under the auspices of George Cohen and his colleagues at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Is there any doubt that both offers are slightly disingenuous?

Judge Nelson, who is ruling over the players request to grant a preliminary injunction on the owner-imposed lockout, has recommended that such a meeting take place at a neutral location, saying that they need to meet at a "neutral table." However, neither side has proposed such a site, and it remains unclear whether or not the two sides have any real intention of doing so.

Even if they did agree to a meeting, they still are in disagreement on what they should be talking about. The players are more interested in discussing litigation, and NFL is mostly interested in mediated bargaining.

So after a lot of barking back and forth, it turns out that nothing has happened. Again.

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