End of lockout only a couple of weeks away?


Late last week, Bill Burt, a reporter at a small New England newspaper, The Eagle Tribune, came out with a report stating that the NFL lockout was over … But the mainstream media blew it off as premature at best and totally inaccurate at worst.
What we seem to be seeing at this point is that it’s somewhere between. At least there is legitimate reason to be optimistic.
Saturday morning, Danny Kelly of fieldgulls.com, posted a report that cited various sources that bolstered the report that came out last week by Burt … Namely that there are many indicators the two sides are inching toward an agreement.
Kelly reported this:

“Well respected sources of information on the NFL Lockout have reported palpable optimism as of late and Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reported this morning that things are going so well that a deal could be reached in two weeks.
Kaplan has been one of the best in lockout coverage and earliest in breaking news since this all began, so this is good news. Of course, there is a long way to go before a real deal is in place but this time it SEEMS there is actual reason to be optimistic there is light at the end of the tunnel. I realize I sound like a broken record on that front but I’m an optimistic person, sue me.”

Over the past week, representatives from both sides have held meetings in secret locations, seemingly heeding the words of the appellate court judge who the week before told both the league and players representatives that they might be best to go off on their own and settle this thing.
Wise words … In other words, get the lawyers and judges out of the room and things just might go better.

“However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan — who ran court-ordered mediation in his Minneapolis chambers in April and May — has also been present [at the most recent secret meetings] though in a different capacity than the one he filled during the mediation.”

He added on his Twitter account:

“As I just said on Total Access, and reported earlier, the NFL and players don’t return to face-to-face stuff until early next week. But the league and players were talking as recently as today. That underscores that they don’t need to be face-to-face to be working. Also in that report, I relayed an estimate I got that the sides are working approximately 5 hrs away from talks for every hour face-to-face.”

So, while it seems that maybe Burt’s enthusiastic proclamation that the lockout was over seemed to be premature, it looks at this point that he may not have been too far off.
The website also cited Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner for his piece on the lockout optimism. He said:

“It was tough to buy in to the idea that the NFL lockout was either over or almost over based in the article [by Burt] especially when no larger news services picked it up and ran with it, and spokespeople from both sides — Greg Aiello of the NFL and George Atallah of the NFLPA — immediately denied the report. However, when looking at the landscape as it stands now, there seems to be cause for legitimate optimism regarding an end to the labor battle for the first time in months. The owners and players have been meeting in private and have made commitments to continue doing so, and more and more sources are coming out and saying that while we’re not all the way there yet, serious moves are being made.”

Farrar linked to The Z Report, stating that a deal could be close to being done.
In that report, Lance Zierlein said,

“After lengthy discussions with both sources, they both conveyed to me a great deal of hope that a deal would be done by July and possibly as early as late June.  Why the sudden optimism?  According to one of the sources, ‘both sides are focusing on the percentage of total revenue coming in (would include the first $1 billion the owners are currently taking off the top) and if that deal gets done, the other issues will probably fall into place fairly quickly according to what I’m hearing.'”

Zierlein went on to explain some crucial information that could help negotiations move along even more quickly:

“The players currently make just over 59 percent of all revenue, but that does not include the $1 billion the owners take off the top.  If that money is included in total revenue, the players get about 51 percent.  While the owners are said to be low-balling the players on their revenue offer, both of my sources from the players’ side said that the percentage appears to be negotiable and could easily come up to a number that both sides could agree upon. ‘I am 100 times more hopeful than two weeks ago that a deal can get done relatively quickly’ was the sentiment from one of my sources who also believes that issues like health care and the rookie salary are issues that could potentially ‘be done already.'”

The Seattle website’s author, Kelly, said in conclusion:

“Now, I’m not trying to be sensationalist by reporting on every little rumor, but I will make a point to give you the latest information percolating down into the media from well-placed NFL sources. And these sources are all saying the same thing – that work is getting done, progress is being made, things are going well, and we’re close to a deal. Here’s to hoping they’re right. If things can wrap up in the next two to three weeks, the season will actually end up being fairly normal – a period of free agency, some minicamps and training camp, a full preseason, and a full season. What a novel idea!”

Amen …

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