Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A ray of hope?

You may have heard about it reported on by a few sources: the players and owners have been meeting and there remains at least a ray of hope that a deal can be struck by July 4th.

I have a little more context for you: these are "mediated sessions" meaning there are a few people in the room who have nothing to gain through the negotiations.  Also in the room are a couple of owners, at least one key person representing the owners interests, some players who are interested in striking a deal, and at least one person representing their broad interests.  Noticeably absent are all the lawyers, D. Maurice Smith, and Roger Goodell.

They are talking in about their differences.  What is it each side wants? What would make them happy?  There's no judgement here, its really about laying out what they want.  Then, it comes to them seeing where there is common ground.  Could we trade off something we want for something you want?  Is there a number between the two that would work?  And so on.  The key issues will be discussed, and they undoubtedly will cover everything that's important - number of games, free agency, long term care, salary caps, the draft, and all of the other stuff....

I have no insights into what the discussions are, only that they're discussing them.

Once they have gone through it all, then its off to meet with the larger audience.  The owners will all meet as a group and see if the proposal is workable.  And then get to the business of deciding about their own issues: revenue sharing, licensing deals, etc. that affect how they distribute their portion.

The players will discuss with their lawyers and D smith to see if it fits with that they want.

Then, I suspect that they will have to meet again to talk about any counter-proposal-changes that may happen, and they'd decide on whether a deal might be reached.

The motivating factor is not money, per se.  Its about the legal system.  The court told both sides that if they couldn't work something out, they would step in through the context of their legal motions and make a deal *for them* that likely won't make either side happy.  Then, essentially, they have no control over how their own game works.

In the meantime, the courts have issued continuances in thei legal cases, meaning that they won't hear arguments - or rule - until there is progress made.

Now how this figures into the very specific anti-trust case, I'm not sure.  But we will see.
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