Though we have no idea what, exactly, is going on in Chicago this week, we do know Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones and other league heavy-hitters are in town to meet with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and some of the chiefs from the players side. As the NFL lockout continues to drag on, the secret meetings — well, secret until a reporter from Chicago found them — must be seen as an encouraging sign. The two sides have been battling it out in court since the lockout began, with the players filing an injunction and alleging antitrust violations in an effort to get the work-stoppage lifted, at least temporarily.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, Goodell, Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others flew into a small airport in Chicago earlier this week for an unknown reason. As time has passed, information has continued to trickle out, forcing the NFL and NFLPA to release a joint statement that is more cryptic than revealing.
"The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions."
So there’s that. While the two sides are meeting, and have now acknowledged as much, it’s unknown whether any progress is being made. The NFL has admitted the effects of lockout are beginning to manifest themselves in dwindling fan-interest and traffic to NFL.com, but it’s unclear whether the owners are still willing to ride the process out and see how far the legal proceedings go. At last check, the owners won a stay after the lockout was lifted for just a few days around the NFL Draft, allowing them to continue to work-stoppage once again.