Mediation is a nice, soft word. It implies hope and that cooler heads will prevail. In the case of the NFL and the NFL Players' Association, it implies that there will be an unbiased adult in the room when all the millionaires and the billionaires decide how to divvy up the football revenue pie.
(Believe me when I plead that I don't want that last part about the richies to seem snarky or snide or be taken with a wink and a nod. That's become a clichéd trope for us poor sports writers whenever we opine about the labor situation. I honestly don't begrudge anyone who wants to get theirs; in fact, more power to them. I'd like Albert Pujols to get all of his, you to get all of yours and me to get all of mine. The happier people are, the better it is for the aggregate good, after all.)
But, the truth is, I don't think mediation is going to do anything to stop an NFL lockout, other than make fans think the owners and the players did everything they could to avoid one -- it's a PR play. If you read Peter King's great story about Roger Goodell in SI before the Super Bowl, you know the guy understands the value of his product and he will wring every dollar he can out of it for the owners. He desperately wants them to get theirs.
That does mean bad news for bettors, however, because there will be opportunities lost come this fall.
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