I know, we're all sick of the lockout. But, in the interest of keeping everybody up to date, here's the latest news. ESPN and various other outlets are reporting that the owners and players representatives met again yesterday in a New York hotel. The meetings are supposed to be secret so there are no quotes or confirmations.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith and select owners and players were present at the meeting Tuesday, a source familiar with the talks said.
Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan was also in attendance, according to the source.
Last week they held meetings for three days, and those included Jerry Jones, who had nothing more to say about last week's get-togethers other than they're "trying" to reach a deal. Other sources from those meetings characterized them as not really making any significant progress.
Meanwhile, the NFL has asked the courts to dismiss the player's anti-trust lawsuit.
As the labor battle between NFL owners and players moved from the bargaining table to the courtroom, judges at each stop have urged both sides to reach an agreement before they have to issue significant rulings. The latest nudge in that direction came on Monday from U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who scheduled a hearing on the owners' motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit from a group of players for Sept. 12.
It's interesting that this argument won't be heard until after the first weekend of the 2011 season. That sounds like another nudge from the courts for the two sides to reach a deal on their own. This is the same Judge Nelson who had lifted the lockout, only to have in reinstated by the 8th Circuit Court.
Speaking of the 8th Circuit Court, they have still not ruled on whether the lockout will remain in place permanently, but almost all observers expect that to happen. But as OCC noted in a previous article, they're also hinting at a decision that neither side would like.
If you're interested in reading a law professors take on the oral arguments that were presented to the 8th Circuit Court, go here. He previously thought that the owners had all the advantage and were just waiting for the players to crack. That was also the view I've been holding for the past couple of months. But after hearing the oral arguments, he is beginning to think that the players are counting on the anti-trust suit to threaten the owners with anti-trust violations and fines, now that the union is decertified, and that they could hold out on a protracted basis in an effort to force the owners to crack. Give it a read if you're so inclined, it's an interesting view.