Over the weekend news broke that Judge Susan Nelson would be forcing the NFL and NFLPA back into mediation. The question from there was whether it would be under the auspices of George Cohen from the FMCS, who conducted the first round of mediation in March, or under another judge appointed by Nelson.
The answer is the latter: Chief Magistrate Arthur Boylan will be conducting mediation with the two sides in Minnesota.
Boylan will meet with the players representatives on Tuesday morning and the owners on Wednesday morning. Both sides must present a brief by Monday afternoon and mediation will begin on Thursday.
This will be interpreted as a win for the players as this is the mediation set-up that they wanted. Both sides had previously agreed to mediation but the owners wanted Cohen, while the players wanted someone appointed by Nelson.
The players argument was that mediation under Cohen hadn't worked the first time and the NFL wants to eliminate federal oversight. The owners argument was that Cohen had a 17-day head start on anyone else from their previous mediation sessions.
The key to remember here is that while Nelson can order the two sides to sit down and talk, she can't order them to agree. As Mark Maske of the Washington Post wrote: "Not much optimism anywhere in the sport, it seems, that the upcoming round of mediated talks will lead to a deal."