Unfortunately the NFL season is still in limbo.
This past Wednesday, Judge Susan Nelson failed to rule on an injunction that would end the NFL lockout, instead requesting a few weeks to more closely consider the issues.
Despite the delay, both the players and owners have expressed their desire to get back to mediation.
It may have something to do with Judge Nelson and her reputation.
On Wednesday, Judge Susan Nelson told both parties that she requires some time to consider whether she has initial jurisdiction over the case (as opposed to the National Labor Relations Board), as well as whether the NFL lockout is legal.
Though she told the courtroom that the players appeared to have a strong case, Yahoo! Sports reports that she urged both parties to negotiate and mediate so as to not delay the impending NFL season.
Prior to her recent appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Susan Nelson was a magistrate judge for ten years. During that time, she was known as a "master mediator" with an ability to settle contentious lawsuits.
Her reputation for pressing for settlement and conducting in-chamber negotiations may be behind both parties' post-Wednesday statements that they are ready and willing to get back to mediation.
However, the players and owners are now bickering about how to go about that, reports The Wall Street Journal. If they don't figure it out soon, Judge Nelson can (and probably will) order the two sides back to the table even if she has to oversee talks.
The future of the 2011-2012 NFL season is in her hands.
- NFL, NFLPA bicker over semantics of how to re-engage labor talks (USA Today)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (FindLaw)
- NFL Lockout in Judge Susan Nelson's Hands (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Will the NFL Players' Lawsuit Bring Back Football? (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- NFL Labor Dispute: Can Mediation Save Next Season? (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)