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NFL Lockout: Owners And Players Engage In No-Longer-So-Secret Meetings In Advance Of Appeal

The owners and players got together for some uber-secret sneaky meetings last night. It was thought that the owners were meeting there alone, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen confirmed that player representatives including DeMaurice Smith were on the ground as well. Per Doug Farrar of Yahoo!, the reason that the owners and players may be meeting now is an actual deadline that both of them may regret passing on:

You should pay special attention to the last sentence in the second paragraph. Allowing the case to be resolved “well before the scheduled beginning of the 2011 season” appears to be a not-so-veiled threat to both sides that is there isn’t progress by the next hearing, things could go a very different way.

The ruling allowing the lockout to continue was less a crushing win for the owners (after all, one judge dissented in a fairly vociferous fashion) and more a prevention of a scenario that could not be undone and would provide unfair advantage to one side — basically, if players were signed by teams without a new CBA and with a lawsuit still going, the players would have won without a specific ruling in their favor by virtue of law. It was a stopping tactic that could be just as easily lifted should the court deem that the owners used the ruling to cause a larger stalemate.

Hate to play the role of Negative Nancy here, but it sure seems like the sides haven’t spent enough time negotiating in good faith to actually come up with a compromise proposal just by meeting right before this important court date. I suppose we shall see. Should the two sides not be able to reach an agreement, the appeal of the injunction against the lockout will start being heard tomorrow.

For more on the NFL Lockout, please check out SB Nation’s NFL Lockout Stream.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.