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re: secret meeting of the owners last night...

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i follow a lot of beat reporters for other teams (at least 2 from each) as well as a bunch of league reporters so some of these guys you may not heard of, but they are legit.

anyways...these are tweets regarding what happened as more is found out.

AdamSchefter NFL reps at secret Chicago meeting: Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft, John Mara, Art Rooney.
AdamSchefter NFLPA reps at secret Chicago meeting: De Smith, Kevin Mawae, Mike Vrabel, Jeff Saturday and more. But other than Smith, NO lawyers.
shalisemyoung as reports leak out of the "secret" Chi-Town meeting yesterday, sounds like Robert Kraft got his wish - no lawyers present
MarkMaske Mediator Arthur Boylan participated in Wednesday's meeting between the league and players, a source said.
TheBlueScreen It was thought to be first non-mediated talks between sides since Feb. 5. But apparently not. Still, talking is better than not talking.
MarkMaske The talks in Chicago between representatives of the NFL and the players continued today. They are to conclude around mid-day.
MarkMaske Those talks began over dinner Tuesday. It's not clear if any formal bargaining took place.
AlbertBreer I can confirm US Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan has been in attendance at the Chicago meetings.
AlbertBreer Another important note on Boylan: role in Chicago not the same as in Minneapolis. He's not "mediating" these talks, per se.
BradBiggs De Smith and 5 players just left meeting w/ NFL in a Chicago suburb. Details to follow this afternoon at Chicago Tribune.
mortreport NFL confirms that it is mediation under Judge Boylan taking place in Chicago yesterday and today. Cites court-ordered confidentiality, too
MarkMaske The joint statement: “The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions...
"... before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.”
from a couple articles...

Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan, the Minneapolis-based mediator appointed by a federal judge, attended the meetings. Court-ordered mediation between the league and the players is scheduled to resume next week in Minneapolis under Boylan’s direction.

It’s not clear if any formal bargaining took place in Chicago. But it did appear that the two sides at least were attempting to establish a rapport and perhaps find some common ground for further negotiations. The talks — which the two sides did not disclose were occurring — were taken as a sign that a deal could be possible in time to preserve the upcoming season.

“I’ve said all along that when the people who are negotiating this deal put the best interests of the game ahead of their own self-interests, it’s a good sign because it means a resolution is possible,” veteran agent Peter Schaffer said Thursday. “The only way to maximize this is with a long-term deal. Any leverage gained through litigation is only short-term.”


DeMaurice Smith gave a sign of two thumbs up as his limousine left Hotel Baker in St. Charles Thursday morning.But the head of the NFLPA didn't offer up much more than that after concluding two days of clandestine meetings with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and influential owners here in the western suburbs.

"I'm going to be nice," Smith said. "No comment."




"That was the point of the meeting," said one of the players, who declined to go into more details. "No lawyers."

"We were here," Mawae said, smiling.

Goodell and owners Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Robert Kraft of the Patriots and Jerry Richardson of the Panthers arrived late Tuesday afternoon using nearby DuPage Airport, a pad for private jets. The NFLPA party used commercial travel, a difference highlighted in the labor struggle between billionaires and millionaires. Through it all, the NFL is grinding along toward the third month of the lockout.

"We’re not going to make any comments," Goodell said as he climbed into the same SUV that transported Kraft to his jet at DuPage Airport on Wednesday. "They will be issuing a statement."

Asked if there are plans to meet again soon, Goodell repeated himself. Asked if there was a reason for optimism, he politely closed the door to the vehicle.

Shortly after both sides issued a joint statement, which confirmed the meetings and nothing more.

"The parties met pursuant to court mediation," the satement read. "Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions."

Jones said he had an enjoyable visit to the Fox Valley as he departed in a Ford Escape rental car, a far cry from the Gulfstream jet with blue stars on the tail that he arrived in.

"We can’t make a comment about it at all but we’re trying," Jones said. "We’re trying. I think the fact that we’re meeting is good."


that last one's bias is showing a little.

this is interesting...

dkaplanSBJ The minnesota federal court has cancelled mediation set next week saying it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with the parties
Greg_A_Bedard Boylan signed the order cutting off mediation for settlement talks.
AlbertBreer Just got to my hotel room ... Read the court filing on next week's mediation being cancelled. Wording is interesting, to say the least.
AlbertBreer It reads ... "Whereas, The Court has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions involving the above captioned matter ..."

(cont): "... it deems it appropriate to cancel the mediation session previously scheduled in Minneapolis for June 7 and June 8."

AlbertBreer OK, in layman's terms ... Parties are in "settlement discussions", per the court, which isn't the same, but not far from CBA negotiations.
AlbertBreer ... In 1993, the last time issues this serious existed, the NFL and players reached a "settlement". Terms of the next CBA were in it.

Greg_A_Bedard From a source close to the labor negotiations: "It's a very, very important step but it does not necessarily mean...

....that there's going to be instantaneous progress." Expect talks to resume next week.

Greg_A_Bedard The composition of the groups of owners and players is significant. Spectrum of views and people that can make a deal.
Greg_A_Bedard It's "easily the biggest step since March 11" but "wouldn't jump to conclusions." On the right track but ways to go.

It should be noted that the NFL had "no interest" in settlement when NFLPA offered it on March 21.

But this would be a global settlement of everything pending, just like in '93. NFLPA would likely reconstitute.

adbrandt Timing of clandestine NFL-NFLPA no-lawyer meetings interesting, right before tomorrow's lawyer all-star game in 8th Circuit.
Greg_A_Bedard Still wondering how the 8th Cir fits into this. I would expect both sides would wait for that decision. What affect would it have?
AlbertBreer As for tomorrow -- BIG numbers: Between 20 & 30 players are expected to attend the injunction appeal hearing at the 8th Circuit courthouse.
AlbertBreer So again ... 20-30 players expected in the courtroom tomorrow. But the big 3 -- Manning, Brady, Brees -- not expected in St. Louis.
adbrandt Special to espn.com: primer on tomorrow's NFL-Players appeal hearing: http://tinyurl.com/6yfo7yo
brandt's link above has a repost of the article he did for national football post already lined, but it also has a couple video clips talking to john clayton/golem and adam schefter talking about what happened and possible implications.

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The Huddle is good.

Thanks rayzor.

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Excellent post and definitely swag worthy... Unfortunately I must spread more swag before I can give it you. Rest assure that you will receive it though.

This is what I expected to see when I joined the Huddle, excellent post!

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updated with a couple more tweets.

essentially so far...owners were having lunch, turned into a meeting with de smith and player reps. no lawyers, but the mediator assigned to the dispute, boylan, was there but not as a mediator.

much of the reason for this happening is, imo, due to what is supposed to be happening on friday.

andew brandt can explain it better than i can...

On Friday the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (the Court) will be the epicenter of the two-year labor/legal battle between the NFL and its Players.

The Court will hear oral arguments regarding the NFL's appeal of the Players’ victory at the lower court level, where Judge Susan Nelson granted the Players a preliminary injunction blocking the lockout. Many (including myself) hope that the result of Friday’s hearing may be the tipping point to ultimately produce meaningful negotiations and/or a long-term CBA. Both sides appreciate the gravity of this proceeding, filing lengthy legal briefs vehemently championing their respective positions.


that whole article is a great read, actually, and really helps understand what is going on.

players might have a clue that things look bleak for them in these proceedings so they might be a bit more willing to work something out.

i hope so, anyway.

also interesting to note...

Jeff_McLane Statement from Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid: "The Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff was not aware that a brief was being ...

"... filed by the NFL Coaches Association in the 8th Circuit Court against the NFL Owners last week. We were surprised by the filing and ...

"... and do not support it in any way.”

might be more coaches out there who feel the same way.

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BradBiggs De Smith and 5 players just left meeting w/ NFL in a Chicago suburb. Details to follow this afternoon at Chicago Tribune.
updated first post...

we'll probably hear more shortly.

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Secret meetings in the burbs.

Exactly how I thought progress would be made.

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what is US Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan role in all of this? if he is there how secret is this?

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what is US Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan role in all of this? if he is there how secret is this?
i'd go with secret meaning unpublicized as in the media wasn't informed. (hmmm...locked out again?)

it sounds like it was a bit of an impromptu meeting to begin with and as things were discussed, more were invited. boylan was probably there more as a witness to what was discussed more than anything.

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