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NFL, NFLPA Allow Mediator To Become Involved In Labor Dispute

Could this be the first real sign that the NFL and NFLPA are beginning to get serious about trying to reach an agreement in their ongoing labor dispute? The sides have agreed to mediation from Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The best explanation I have found for what the use of mediation means comes from Pro Football Talk:

Mediation is a non-binding process, which has become increasingly popular over the last three decades as a tool for resolving civil litigation. Basically, courts require the parties to give it a try, and that they proceed in good faith. In this case, the parties have decided to do it on their own.

A mediator has no power to issue rulings or resolve disputes or otherwise say or do anything to force an agreement. But a mediator has the ability to speak candidly to the parties about the weaknesses of their position and the realities of the predicament and to serve as a devil’s advocate of sorts in order to get each side to be more objective.

In his report on the mediation development, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News said simply “couldn’t hurt.”

The Boston Globe also termed the move a “positive development.”

Now, we just have to wait and see if mediator George Cohen can get either side to budge.