UPDATE: Holy crap. Because he, apparently, really, really wanted to talk to Sarah Silverman, Guy Serota has been removed from the process. Seriously.
#CBA Serota removed from mediation assignment because of Twitter flap earlier today, FMCS announced, to dispel any “cloud” over process
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) November 26, 2012
Because these negotiations weren’t already a total joke. This is what has become of the sport we love, people, even when we finally get a mediator we don’t entirely get a mediator. Because of Twitter. The internet is a scary beast, folks. I mean, this probably won’t have any real affect on the negotiations, as Serota will likely be replaced by someone who doesn’t feel the need to share his deep ruminations about the band Paramore, but seriously, guys.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, something approaching sanity has occurred in the NHL labor negotiations. According to all of Twitter (so it must be true), the NHL and NHLPA have hired a federal mediator to help them find common ground and let us watch some hockey. This is potentially good news as having literally anyone not named Gary Bettman or Don Fehr taking the reins in negotiations is almost certainly a good thing. Unfortunately for all of us, Fehr and Bettman are still very much involved. Still, any news that doesn’t involve news of the two sides being far apart is good news, I think. I’m honestly pretty shocked that mediation is actually happening. I thought for sure that both sides’ heels were dug in so deep that even the idea of hiring a mediator wouldn’t have come to fruition for at least another month or so, especially after all of the NHL’s talk about “mediation not being a valid path to a deal.” But, I mean, it’s something. Maybe it leads to a deal, maybe not, but at least it’s not just another round of childish nonsense followed by news that the two sides have locked themselves in their rooms and won’t come out until someone agrees to their deal. Other people think things too:
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen says he’s had informal talks with NHL and NHLPA. — Jesse Spector (@jessespector) November 26, 2012
Mediators work under umbrella of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Let’s see if some “outside” perspective makes a difference. — Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2012
Meeting with mediators likely Wednesday. — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) November 26, 2012
Interesting, yet not entirely surprising, little tidbit here:
email from Bill Daly on federal mediation: “They reached out to us.” — Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) November 26, 2012
Of course, there was plenty of Twitter reaction to temper anything resembling optimism because the NHL lockout is where optimism goes to die:
Here’s @mccannsportslaw: “Mediation isn’t binding and, by bringing a new person into the discussion, can further complicate the situation.”
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) November 26, 2012
Mediation can give both sides a reality check. But at the end of the day, the willingness to compromise has to come from both sides.
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) November 26, 2012
The NHL and NHLPA met with federal mediators on Feb. 13, 2005. Three days later the season was cancelled. — Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 26, 2012
Perhaps the strangest development of this whole thing is the budding Twitter celebrity of one of our mediators, one Mr. Guy Serota. Seems Serota’s Twitter feed (which, when I first started following today, was at only 34 followers) was made up mostly of random, nonsensical thoughts about pop-culture and replies to celebrities’ Tweets (no, they did not answer). This, because it’s Twitter, led to a retweet rampage which led to Serota pulling the rarely seen Chris Brown/Jeff O’Neill hybrid move and not only deactivating his account but also claiming that his account had been hacked. So impressively hacked that, apparently, he had not been in control of his account since he joined Twitter. Of course, this is the Internet, so no one is safe:
Here’s what Google has cached for Guy Serota: webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache…
— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) November 26, 2012
So there that is. That whole thing seems weirdly appropriate for these negotiations, doesn’t it? God, I hate this lockout.