Six weeks ago, when we were still viewing the then-looming work stoppage as a half-full glass, we were excited to point out that as the NFL and NFLPA mediated, silence was golden:

With five days of mediation down, it’s amazing how few cats the NFL and NFLPA have let slip out of their respective bags. There have been very few moles, and freezing the media — aside from letting them take pictures of their lunch — has seemed to serve the two sides well. No more rhetoric and no more publicity stunts.

Now, the glass is undoubtedly half empty. Federal mediator George Cohen’s attempt to keep the two parties quiet lasted no longer than a week, and it wasn’t long before the vow of silence became a joke.

And so here we are, waiting for a decision in an antitrust case. In the meantime, Minnesota federal judge Susan Nelson has urged both sides to return to mediation. And Nelson’s also taking a page from Cohen’s playbook. In a conference call with the league and the players today, she requested both sides hit the mute button.

That call was completed two hours ago. So far, so good.

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