Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 2:04 pm

De Smith changes plan, will sit in on mediation

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has decided to sit on the NFL-NFLPA mediation session Thursday, as he’s canceled a planned speaking engagement at Wake Forest and instead will travel to Minneapolis for the meeting, according to USA Today.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan met Tuesday with the plaintiffs of the Brady v NFL and Eller v NFL cases, and he was in the process of meeting with the NFL’s counsel today.

Thursday, though, is when everybody gets together in Boylan’s presence. And Smith apparently wants to be there.

Meanwhile, commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to be on a conference call with Browns season-ticket holders Wednesday (though I imagine, if he really wanted to, he could probably get out of that commitment).

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 12:28 pm

NFL, NFLPA call with Judge Nelson lasted an hour

Posted by Andy Benoit

Judge Susan Nelson’s conference call with lawyers from the NFL and NFLPA wrapped up a little after 11:00 a.m. EST Friday, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer. The purpose of the call was to determine where the next round of mediation will take place. After the April 6 court hearing, Nelson strongly encouraged both sides to return to mediation while she spends the next few weeks working on her decision.

As far as what was said in the conference call…no one quite knows. Nelson ordered the two sides to remain quiet. We assume both sides will have more respect for her gag order than they had for the powerless George Cohen’s last month.

CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman wrote earlier, “The players want federal mediation while the owners want to return to George Cohen which is less binding.”

In other lockout news, NFL.com's Jason La Canfora reports that the NFLPA filed a motion in court on Friday to formally add DeMaurice Smith to their counsel in Brady v NFL.

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Posted on: April 7, 2011 5:48 pm
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Posted on: April 7, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:02 pm

Players letter to NFL requesting mediation

Posted by Will Brinson

CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of the letter that the players in the Brady v. NFL antitrust case sent to Judge Susan Nelson requesting federally mandated mediation.

Dear Judge Nelson:

We are writing in response to the Court's suggestion that the parties engage the services of the federal court in Minnesota in an effort to mediate and settle the current litigation. We take your comments regarding protecting the parties position to heart. As class counsel on behalf of the Brady class, we think this is an excellent suggestion and are prepared to engage in such mediation without delay.

Our agreement is, of course, contingent on the NFL defendants'  agreement that they will not attempt to use this, our willingness to mediate, against the Brady class in some way, for example by arguing that such mediation efforts constitute "collective bargaining" or otherwise arise out of a "labor relationship."

Very Truly Yours,
Barbara P. Berens

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Posted on: April 7, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:22 pm

Source: Players send NFL letter asking to mediate

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE (2:00 PM EST): CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of the players' letter to Judge Nelson and the NFL's counsel requesting mediation.

During yesterday's lockout hearing, Judge Susan Nelson urged both sides on the Brady v. NFL case to proceed with settlement talks -- in the manner of federal-court monitored mediation -- while she took a few weeks to make her ruling.

Predictably, the NFL wasn't particularly gung-ho about the idea of engaging in binding mediation with Judge Nelson presiding (though the players, obviously, were).

Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reported that the players were expected to send a letter to the NFL asking to begin federal mediation.

We've confirmed, via sources close to the situation, that the players are indeed sending such a letter to the NFL on Wednesday afternoon.

It probably won't matter much, as the NFL -- even with the formal request -- is unlikely to acquiesce and enter into such mediation.
NFL Labor

In fact, Mullen's also reported that the NFL will send their own letter to the players in Brady, requesting that the two sides resume mediation under the watch of George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Counseling Services in Washington, D.C.

Again, no surprise there. What makes the NFL's case here a bit problematic is that the federal judge watching over the antitrust case didn't request that the two sides begin mediation with Cohen.

And though she'd probably be okay with any talk of settlement, it's unlikely to happen. As we detailed yesterday, there's a serious issue of semantics at hand when it comes to the way can even begin to settle.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:12 pm

NFLPA to pay players with lockout fund on 4/15

Posted by Will Brinson

Times are tight for NFL players -- even though it's perceived that they make piles of money (and many of them do), many players live check-to-check. Which is why the NFLPA established a "lockout fund" with which to begin paying players.

And, according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the players will begin receiving those payments on April 15. LaCanfora cites an NFLPA source as well as an email that was sent to the players recently.

"We are e-mailing you to inform you that the NFLPA Board of Player Directors approved the payout from the Lockout Fund to begin on April 15, in six installments or until the lockout ends. In order to start receiving your payments, please fill out the attached direct deposit enrollment form and return it to us with a voided check from your checking account or bank letter verifying the account information. We will e-mail you at the address that you provide on the form when payments are sent to your bank account.

"Please note that any other future payments that you may receive from the NFLPA or NFL PLAYERS Inc (for example player marketing deals or royalty payments) will be deposited into this account and you will be notified via email of the deposit."

The maximum total payment made to a player -- over the course of the six installments -- would reportedly be $60,000, utilizing funds that were compiled during the 2009 and 2010 seasons via players' dues and rights' fees.

A player who was on a 53-man roster for the full length of those seasons would reportedly be eligible to receive the maximum sum of $60,000.

The payments to the players really establishes two things about the current state of NFL negotiations.

One, this lockout wasn't unexpected. But we already knew that -- both sides are doing a dance that they've been rehearsing for quite some time.

And two, DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA did a hell of a job planning ahead for this scenario. $60,000 is quite a step down for many players, but it's still money coming in, which is critical because it offsets money going out.

And that means the players will continue to have some leverage in being able to avoid work and, most importantly paychecks.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:08 pm

Does retired players case offer legal loophole?

Posted by Will Brinson

As if having every single current NFL player suing the league wasn't awkward enough, a group of retired players have also filed a class-action complaint against the NFL and its 32 clubs, with the express purpose of pushing the Brady v. NFL bandwagon even further down the tracks.

But this lawsuit is actually worse for the NFL than it would seem based on the named plaintiffs -- Carl Eller, Priest Holmes, Obafemi Ayanbadejo and Ryan Collins -- listed on the lawsuit, a copy of which we've seen.

That's because the class involved in this class action is comprised of not just retired players but also "... (b) potential rookie professional football players who, as of March 11, 2011 to the date of final judgment in this action and the determination of any appeal therefrom, have not previously commenced negotiation with any NFL club concerning employment and have not been selected in any NFL College Draft."

Or, in non-fancy parlance: rookies.
NFL Labor

Of course, that may not seem to matter all that much, as you'd think that the rookies are already involved in the Brady v. NFL lawsuit. But not so fast, my friend. According to the attorney representing the players in this matter, Michael Hausfeld, this case could circumvent the NFL's claim that the decertification of the union is a "sham."

"The owners say the union has unlawfully decertified and the union should be ordered to reconstitute and forced to sit at the bargaining table," Hausfeld told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. "If you look at the last CBA, it represents the rookies that have been drafted and the rookies who have begun negotiating with teams."

It's a loophole, and there's absolutely no guarantee it'll work, but Hausfeld, as Wetzel notes, seems pretty convinced.

"The owners have shut down their potential employees through a concerted boycott," Hausfeld said. "[The suit is] going to avoid the main thrust of the owners’ defense and their argument that the matter should be settled by the [National Labor Relations Board] not in the courts."

The NFL has yet to comment on the "retired players lawsuit," but it stands to reason that they won't immediately decide to fold up camp and just cave to the NFLPA's desire to life the lockout.

Because, after all, the NFL's already pretty vested in their current position. It's way past highly unlikely they'll reverse course at this point.

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 10:33 pm

April 27th the deadline for lockout ruling?

Posted by Will Brinson

On Monday, Tom Brady, et al, (i.e. all the players suing the NFL) filed a reply with the Minnesota district court related to their Motion for Preliminary Injunction against the NFL.

A hearing will take place on April 6, but the question everyone wants to know is, "When will the court make a ruling?" (You may not know it, but you want the answer to this -- it could decide the fate of NFL football in 2011.)

Well, it warrants mentioning then that the Plaintiffs (the players) and the Defendants (the NFL and its clubs) have agreed to an extension of time with which the Defendants can answer the Plaintiffs' complaint. (Or, to put it more simply: the NFL gets 30 days to respond to the players' lawsuit; both sides have agreed to add more time to that.)

CBSSports.com has obtained an Order on Stipulation for Extension of Time whereby Jeanne J. Graham, the United States Magistrate Judge for Minnesota, gives the NFL until April 27 to respond to the players' complaint.
NFL Labor

Why does this matter? Well, the NFL will have its legal response ready before then; but it stands to reason that if both sides -- and the court -- have agreed to extend the time period with which the NFL can answer until April 27, that we'll have a ruling on the Injunction by then.

That's because if the Plaintiffs' motion is granted, the lockout will be declared illegal. The NFL will then likely appeal the ruling. (Same for the players, in the event that the lockout is declared legal.)

But, most importantly, the ruling that stems from the hearing on April 6 will dramatically affect the case and it's timeline moving forward -- though there's no guarantee that we know anything by April 27 (which just so happens to be right before the draft), there's a very good chance that we do.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com