NFL Mediator Sets Meeting for Owners, Players for July 19; Encourages Talk
The federal magistrate judge mediating the labor dispute between National Football League players and owners will hold another session with the sides on July 19.
Judge Arthur J. Boylan called for the meeting in Minneapolis before starting his vacation today, according to the court docket. He told both sides to continue to meet on their own “in an effort to define and narrow the difference between their respective settlement positions.”
Negotiators for the owners and players are close to agreeing on how to divide a projected $9.3 billion in revenue, two weeks before training camps are scheduled to open, according to two people with knowledge of the talks.
The sides have worked on an agreement that may give players just less than half of the league’s revenue, according to the people. Players got about 60 percent under the old agreement, after owners deducted $1 billion for such costs as the NFL Network.
“We’re gonna break for the weekend and get back to work next week,” said DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, after talks recessed yesterday in New York. “We continue to work hard to get something done. I know our fans want us to get something done as quickly as possible.”
Losses at Stake
Completing a new collective bargaining agreement next week may help the U.S.’s most popular sport avoid missing one or more rounds of preseason games, which NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says are worth about $200 million in revenue each week. Owners locked out players four months ago, and yesterday, a federal appeals court upheld the lockout, saying a lower court had erred in blocking the action.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Smith rejoined negotiations this week after lawyers for both sides worked on language for a new deal, said the people, who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the talks.
Players led by quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning sued the NFL on March 11 after negotiations on a collective-bargaining agreement collapsed and the athletes dissolved their union. The lockout followed at midnight.
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