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Mediation reportedly adjourned until May 16

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By PFW staff

The second set of federally mediated talks between the NFL players and owners adjourned on Wednesday until, tentatively, May 16, NFL Network's Albert Breer reported.

The two sides, along with retired players, whose case was combined with the players', had been meeting with Judge Arthur Boylan in Minneapolis. League counsel Jeff Pash told Breer that the May 16 date has to do with Boylan's schedule.

The ending of the talks likely coincides with the fact that District Judge Susan Nelson, who is hearing the players' antitrust lawsuit against the owners, should be giving her ruling any day on the players' request of an injunction to the lockout. She urged the two sides to enter mediation while she considered the injunction.

The league locked out the players following the decertification of the NFLPA on March 11. The players and owners had previously spent 16 days in mediation with George Cohen in Washington D.C., talks that ended on March 11.

The players and owners have yet to agree on a new labor agreement, leading to the first work stoppage since 1987 and putting the 2011 NFL season in jeopardy.

The way we see it

It's not clear what went on in the recent mediation sessions. Unlike the final week of mediation with Cohen, no specifics were leaked, which is a good thing. However, few expected much progress to come from these sessions, as the players are intent on settling this in court while the owners would prefer to negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement, not the antitrust lawsuit. Now we await Judge Nelson's ruling, which will be appealed by the losing side.

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