National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) executive director DeMaurice Smith (C) and NFL players Jeff Saturday (L) and Charlie Batch (R) talk with the media following meetings at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Update: The NFL released a statement at approximately 2 p.m. central explaining the meetings. "Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions."
The There's a party going on in DuPage, and you weren't invited. Don't cry, neither were we. The parties met pursuant to court mediation.
Only important people who have the power to end the NFL's dreadful lockout were invited. Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL owners Robert Kraft, Jerry Richardson, Jerry Jones, player representatives DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Mike Vrabel, Jeff Saturday, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan are the cool kids attending this party taking place the day before both sides head to St. Louis to hash out their problems in court.
And this party is IMPORTANT. Though you would think that resolving the lockout and returning football to the country is the only item on the agenda, Grizzly Detail obtained* a double-secret copy of the agenda. Here's a sneak peek of what the teams are talking about.
*This might not be true. OK, all of it might not be true, except for the meetings, that they're happening in the 'burbs and some of the NFL's most important players are there, and it could signal a good future for the NFL.
All joking aside, these meetings are reason for optimism. The two sides of the labor disagreement haven't been face to face without a third-party present since the Super Bowl.
No lawyers were in the meeting. Owners' representative and players' representatives could just talk without a filter or a lawyer kicking them under the table.