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March 02, 2011

Richardson, owners retreat to Chantilly

NFL outside labor counsel Bob Batterman, left, and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson arrive for football labor negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator Wednesday in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Here's the AP's latest report on NFL labor talks:

WASHINGTON (AP) – A large group of NFL owners and players' union president Kevin Mawae participated in mediated labor talks for the first time Wednesday, attending a meeting that ended with fewer than 35 hours left until the collective bargaining agreement expires.

The ninth session at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service came on the same day that the league's 32 team owners were gathering at a hotel about 25 miles away in Chantilly, Va. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and all 10 members of the owners' labor committee left the mediation after about four hours of talks.

The NFL contingent got into a fleet of a half-dozen black SUVs and headed to Chantilly to begin filling in other owners on the status of the negotiations. When they arrived, none of the owners spoke to reporters before entering the meeting.

About 20 minutes after the league's group left, the NFL Players Association's negotiators group left on foot, walking in the direction of the union's headquarters, a couple of blocks away. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a member of the NFLPA executive committee, attended the mediation; like Mawae, Brees hadn't been present at this round of negotiations, which began Feb. 18. But now all members of the union's executive committee have been present at least once.

“We're talking,” Mawae said when he left. “It's better than not talking.”

The CBA runs out at midnight Eastern time as Thursday becomes Friday, and among the possibilities are that the owners lock out the players or that the union decertifies. Whatever happens this week could cause the country's most popular sport to lose regular-season games to a work stoppage for the first time since 1987. Or, perhaps, everything could be resolved by management and labor in an industry with revenues topping $9 billion annually.

“So far, obviously, we haven't been successful,” Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said on his way into the mediation session shortly before 10 a.m., “but we're optimistic in due time we will.”

Added Richardson: “We have a league meeting, and we decided it would be a good idea for our full committee to meet with the mediation process this morning. Our objective, of course, is to negotiate a fair agreement for the players and the teams.”

Posted by Observer Sports on March 2, 2011 at 04:04 PM | Permalink


Stall those fat cat greedy owners! Remember, the game is about the players, not the owners. You guys are the league, not the owners!!

Posted by: Joe Mamma | Mar 2, 2011 4:56:04 PM

Yeah except without the owners, players have no jobs. It's a two way street Joe. I just hope we don't miss any games, but it's not looking good.

Posted by: JPhanatic10 | Mar 2, 2011 4:58:37 PM

An agreement will be reached two weeks before the first game. There is too much money to lose for either side to not PLAY the game in 2011. Nobody is sweating it at this time of year because the next game is 6 months away. That's a lot of time to figure things out.

Posted by: Nosebleed fan | Mar 2, 2011 5:13:19 PM

If the NFL owners and the players go into a lockout, this will leave a nasty scare for a long time!!!

Please get the CBA signed before by Thursday night!

Posted by: pantherstalk | Mar 2, 2011 6:26:16 PM

The owners are the ones putting up all the money. They are not greedy they just need to protect their investments and get a return in the process. The CBA keeps from one team having the best and most expensive players. Thats why the NFL is number one.
Also I don't see a lockout ruining this sport. If theres a lockout it won't be the first and its still the best sport. we all love the NFL and we will continue loving it. What else do we have to watch? all the other sports suck.

Posted by: pland67 | Mar 2, 2011 9:48:29 PM

Don't trust the owners. I was happy to hear the judge's recent decision to side with the players over the $ 4.0 Billion tv rights if there is a lockout. They made those decisions and arrangements (NFL) for the owners behalf and not the players behalf. Sneaky! I would like to see the players dissolve the players union, which would force the owners into making a real decision.....then again the court will decide for them because my guess is the judge will side with the players if there was no official lockout! Play ball....hardball!!

Posted by: hush | Mar 3, 2011 10:27:34 AM

To pland67,

What about College Football and basketball? March Madness? SEC, ACC?? Bowl games? I agree NBA and Baseball in my opinion is week, unless you are talking about the World Series and/or NBA Finals, but give the other sports a chance!!

Posted by: hush | Mar 3, 2011 10:30:37 AM

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