NFL Lockout: Mediation Appears To Have Made Progress

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 14: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 14, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners when labor talks between the two broke down last month. (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

On Thursday, court ordered mediation began between the NFL owners and the NFLPA in Minnesota. I'll be the first to say that I expected nothing in these sessions. However, supposedly there were some positives to come out of the over nine hours of meetings. 

According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, the mediation talks were "tough" and there was "fence-mending" to do. 

I was happy and surprised to have heard anything. After all, Judge Nelson ordered public silence about the lockout. Good thing that Breer has a source that is at least willing to share anything. Hopefully we can continue to get little snippets of information about the sessions taking place. 

The one thing about the whole litigation piece to the labor dispute is that Judge Nelson is being very careful. She seems to be trying to give both parties every chance to get something done among themselves. 

Perhaps this was exactly what the two sides needed -- mediation with oversight by the courts. Before the process was toothless because the terms are whatever the two sides agree to. Hopefully the urgency of having to report to a judge will be just enough of a kick in the pants to get them going. 

I am still not optimistic. It will probably come down to the judge, but since the lockout started, it looks like the two sides have gotten so far apart that reconciliation without a little help was never going to happen. Maybe now, regardless of the ruling, they can at least stop increasing the gap they have between them and at least maintain it for now.

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