Judge Orders NFL and Players to Re-enter Mediation on Thursday

April 12, 2011

The National Football League (NFL) and its players seeking to halt an owner-imposed lockout, were ordered by a federal judge yesterday, April 11, to begin formal mediation on Thursday, April 14.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson appointed a magistrate judge to meet with representatives of the players today, April 12, and the NFL the following day.

According to Nelson, U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan will meet with both sides on Thursday and conduct all mediation sessions.

The players, led by quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, sued the NFL last month, alleging antitrust violations after the collapse of collective bargaining talks.

Owners of the 32 NFL teams declared a lockout after the negotiations failed when the player’s union elected to decertify its status. This action gave the players the right to pursue an antitrust lawsuit, the players’ lawyers said in court papers last month.

Nelson stated: “This mediation will not have the effect of a stay on this litigation. The players’ motion for a preliminary injunction remains under advisement.”

The labor dispute involves the formula by which the New York-based league and its players would divide about US$9bn annual revenue.