Typically when someone brings in a mediator they are saying that they can't agree, but they are willing to accept the suggestions from the mediators to reach a deal. The NFL and its players' union agreed Thursday to mediation in their labor dispute, two weeks before the collective bargaining agreement expires.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency, will oversee negotiations in Washington beginning Friday.
After holding separate discussions with representatives from the league and the union, FMCS director George H. Cohen said both sides agreed to have the agency get involved in the stalled talks.
Negotiations broke down last week, leading to the cancellation of one planned session. The players are expecting the owners to lock them out with no roadside assistance if the CBA expires on March 3 without a new agreement.
''Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS's long-standing practice, the agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of those negotiations until further notice,'' Cohen said.