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NFL Lockout Talks — Updates From the Scene

Thursday, 3 Mar 2011 | 6:16 PM ET

Throughout the day, we'll be following what is scheduled to be the final day before the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.

Follow us here to find out the latest.

6:05 PM/ET: The meeting is over. NFL union head DeMaurice Smith is brief:

"For all the fans who dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this. We're going to keep working. We want to play football."

5:38 PM/ET: The NFL Network is reporting that there is a 24-hour extension to the CBA expiration, which means it would now expire tomorrow (Friday) night at 11:59pm ET.

Honestly, I have no idea what 24 hours would do. They weren't close on any of the negotiating terms when they entered the mediation this morning, so it would be nothing short of a miracle if a mediator, who has no binding power, has pulled the sides together.

I'm more likely to believe that the mediator, George Cohen, is working with them to try to set up amicable terms of talking going forward instead of making it more hostile by pushing it to the courts.

4:24 PM/ET: We've been standing outside since 8:30am ET, freezing. Reporters have no place to go and everyone has been haunted by false alarms. At times, we've taken refuge in the local Starbucks, Subway and FedEx Kinko's. Even a patch of sun was a rare treat. Someone needs to come out and tell us what is going on.

We are...Waiting For Goodell.

3:45 PM/ET: We are closing in on the time where the union has to tell the owners if they are decertifying, but that of course relies on there not being an extension to the CBA.

Let's take a related question from Twitter from @JVAPxPwho asks "If NFL deadline extends, will players still be able to de-certify if talks break down later?"

My Answer: Yes. Decertification is all in relation to the CBA. So if the CBA expires later, then it buys the players more time. You should also assume, however, that if there is an extension that there will be provisions to that extension. That's what is likely going on right now.

3:10 PM/ET: NFL fans, I think you are going to have a full season next year.

If the owners and players are talking this seriously, for this long, roughly six months before the season would start, I can't imagine them missing a game. Sure they aren't likely getting into specifics. They're talking more about the semantics of how to possibly extend the CBA. But if I'm a fan, I feel cautiously more confident now that we won't miss games than I did this morning.

I've covered work stoppages before and when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, you blow by it. Both sides can't stand each other. They can't sit in the room with each other like they have today for what is approaching on six hours. I'm not in the negotiating room today obviously, but if they are talking for this long, when they have no obligation to this mediator at all, it has to be progress.

2:30 PM/ET: Many reporters have now been told that the league and the union are discussing extending the deadline, which is 11:59pm ET tonight.

I truly believe the union is in the position of power. Had the television rulingnot been made in their favor days ago, I think this would be a different story.

2:17 PM/ET: As many of you know, I promised to shave my hair offif the owners and the players stuck a deal before midnight tonight. (See video below) It's looking more and more like there might not be a work stoppage tonight with a possible extension, though luckily for my hair it's very unlikely that a deal will be done nine hours from now.

Nonetheless, here's a look at what I would look like if the owners and the players pulled off a miracle. (Vote in our poll below - Will I have to shave my hair or not?)

Darren Rovell
CNBC
Darren Rovell

1:49 PM/ET: President Obama was just asked about the possibility of him getting involved in the NFL talks at his question and answer session.

It was the first question. What a country.

Here is some of what he said: "The two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening... For an industry that's making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way and be true to their fans...Because it turns out I've got a lot of other stuff to do."

1:35 PM/ET: With the owners and players still meeting in mediation, I'm really starting to think that this might not end tonight.

ESPN's Adam Schefter just reported on his Twitter feed that the owners are "pushing for an extension of talks and that the players are willing to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement if "the owners make some concessions." This would suggest that the balance of power has clearly swung to the players thanks to the TV ruling and the threat of decertification.

Vote
Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

1:00 PM/ET: We've hit the 3 hour and 30 minute mark.

I can't believe they are still talking.

If this was just to convince fans they were working on a deal, it has worked.

They've spent a lot of time with this mediator over the past couple of weeks.

12:10 PM/ET: Let's continue to take questions from Twitter.

Send them to me @darrenrovell.

Asks @thebrettwise: No talk about owners requiring payment for 2011 season tickets?

My Answer: Well, obviously the owners want to get your cash now. While some have kept ticket prices the same in a good faith gesture, you as a fan should negotiate with teams if you are willing to give your money to them now. Owners want your money now, make them work with you.

Rovell to Shave His Head?
CNBC's Darren Rovell offers to shave his head if the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners reach a collective bargaining agreement by midnight tonight.

11:26 AM/ET: The NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora just tweeted: "The NFL prepared to reveal more financial data during today's mediation."

For the first time, I am scared for my hair.

10:51 AM/ET: Let's take some questions from Twitter.

You can send them to me @darrenrovell.

This from @smesmer84:

What happens to revenue for licensed products if there is a lockout. Is it shared under current agreement escrow?

My answer: I don't believe any new jerseys or any new licensed products can be made. That's what happens when the Collective Bargaining Agreement ends.

Any company that has an NFL player in its ads has to pull them today, assuming there is no extension.

As I understand it, even if the union decertifies they will still hold the collective players rights as a trade association.

That would be different from what happened when the players decertified in the late 80s. They actually had to sign up players to give them their intellectual property rights.

10:30 AM/ET: We're 13 hours and 30 minutes away from the deadline, but we're actually 6 hours and 30 minutes away from the deadline for the union if they want to decertify.

They have to put in the paperwork before 5pm ET.

NFLPA executive director Demaurice Smith
CNBC
NFLPA executive director Demaurice Smith

9:34 AM/ET: The union has arrived. There are about ten players walking in including Drew Brees and Jeff Saturday.

9:25 AM/ET: Thinking perhaps the union isn't interested in engaging in this mediation charade anymore.

This is a chess match now. Every move counts.

Assuming the NFL has to be wondering why they still haven't arrived. The first NFL contingent showed up more than 40 minutes ago.

9:16 AM/ET: The union has still not shown up to the mediation yet.

Is it possible they don't show up today?

I give it a 10 percent chance. Wow, that would really end this day quick.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
CNBC
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

9:00 AM/ET: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell arrives.

When asked for comment, he says two words, "Good morning."

It's amazing that the owners and the union have met for 10 days with a mediator who has no binding power at all. While they haven't said anything about the meetings, it's hard to believe they've gotten anything substantive done.

8:45 AM/ET: The NFL's chief negotiator Jeff Pash along with the NFL's executive vice president Eric Grubman and some other league execs, including Packers president Mark Murphy have come through the front door of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building in Washington D.C. for what is expected to be the final day of mediation between the owners and the players.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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