Just when we thought a deal is near to end the stalemate between the NFL owners and players and put an end to the lockout, there is a new unexpected wrinkle that threatens to slow progress.
A group of retired NFL players filed a class-action complaint in federal court Monday against both the owners and current players asking for mediation to be halted until it receives a seat at the negotiation table. The retired players were represented in the negotiations early on but have been pushed aside as talks to end the lockout that began March 11 have heated up.
The group of retirees, which includes Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Franco Harris and Carl Eller, are rightfully concerned that their pension and benefits could be lowered in order to get the current players more money.
"Through the settlement they are forging, the Brady plaintiffs, the NFLPA and the NFL defendants are conspiring to set retiree benefits and pension levels at artificially low levels," the complaint alleged.
This is an interesting concern the retired players have because apparently the NFLPA lawyers have seemed bent on sticking the owners with paying the majority of the retired players’ benefits. The league has offered to do a 50-50 split, which is about as good as the two sides can hope to get, according to cbssportsline.com.
The motion the retired players have put into place may not necessarily hinder considerable progress the union and players have made in the past few weeks. The retired players have asked U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to put a stop to court-ordered mediation until they have a seat at the negotiating table, but the two principle sides can still meet.
The owners and players representatives met for a marathon four days last week and are set to resume negotiations Tuesday in hopes of bringing the lockout to end in order to get the NFL season started on time or as close to on time as possible.
(Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)