The Minnesota federal court has canceled a mediation session scheduled to start next week between the NFL and NFLPA, according to Daniel Kaplan of SBJ. That doesn't sound like good news.
But it is, sort of.
They're actually moving into settlement talks instead of mediation sessions. The last time these two sides entered into settlement talks in a situation like this was in 1993 which ultimately resulted in the CBA that presided over the league until last March. So, if history matters -- and I'm really hoping it does -- we could see a similar arrangement.
At this point, though, that's just my optimism leaking out. It can still go either way. We'll have Friday's court date where the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will hear arguments from each side as to why the lockout should or shouldn't be lifted. A ruling on that would likely come in several weeks, perhaps by the end of June.
So, I think what fans should hope for is a settlement agreement before the ruling comes down later this month because, once that ruling comes down, one side -- likely the owners -- will have major leverage and that won't result in the fairest possible labor deal. And if we don't get the fairest possible labor deal, we'll be back in this position very soon.
So here's to hope in the NFL lockout.