Posted by Will Brinson
The current mediation that the folks in Brady v. NFL is quite a serious deal, and needs the serious attention of both parties. It's good news, then, that Commissioner Roger Goodell and a group of NFL owners will be attending the mediated sessions.
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, Goodell and "some of the owners" will attend the mediation, which begins on Thursday.
And the commish himself confirmed, via Twitter, his presence at the mediation opposite the players.
"I am also looking forward to resuming mediation talks tomorrow with players and their representatives," Goodell tweeted.
The real question is how many of the owners will actually be present -- it seems like a safe bet that the owners will send forth a full committee with the necessary negotiating power to strike a deal, should one make its way onto their table.
If just a few show up for the mediation, you can guarantee some grumbling from the players, especially given that there's likely to be a large number of them in attendance. (Though the point that neither Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady, both high-profile plaintiffs in the matter, are likely to be there is entirely viable.)
And the last thing these would-be settlement discussions need is one of the sides getting antsy.
"I think this is a fascinating opportunity to bring this to a successful conclusion, but the parties have to be willing," Robert Berliner, who runs a mediation firm in Chicago, said. "The mediator can only suggest, cajole and work hard to bring them together. He can't make it happen, and if the parties aren't willing to make a deal the best mediator in the world can't make it happen."
And that's the key -- even if there's a bound to be some emotions on the rise throughout the attempts to find a deal, if both sides are really dedicated to making a deal happen, it'll happen.
If not, well, things can still get uglier.
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