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CBA Update: Owners and Players Agree to Mediation

Since my last post, there's been another update in the ongoing process between the owners and players' union. Today, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to meet with a federal mediator for seven straight days. What does this mean? Check after the jump.

Mediation is an alternative to the court system. If two parties have a dispute, instead of going to court, they go to a private agency (or in this case, a federal agency which performs the same function) and bring their dispute to a neutral third party to help resolve it. The entire process is faster and cheaper than the court system, which is why people use it. There are a couple different kinds of mediation: binding and non-binding, which are exactly what they sound like.

Here, the NFL and union have agreed to go to non-binding mediation. Essentially, this is just a tool which has brought the two sides to the table and gotten them to have meaningful discussions. This is a positive development, because prior to this, the two sides couldn't even agree on a meeting. Apparently, they've agreed that they'll meet for seven straight days.

This doesn't necessarily bring us any closer to a solution--either party is free to walk away at any time, and any rulings or decisions made by the mediator are completely non-binding. But again, this is a good first step, because now there can actually be communication between the sides. Now, we just have to hope that actual progress is made in these talks. The presence of a mediator should help smooth over areas of conflict, so the two sides will keep talking. Again, we'll just have to wait and see.