Observers trying to read the tea leaves in the secret negotiations between players and owners in both the National Basketball Association and the National Football League see signs of talks going in opposite directions today.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and labor chief DeMaurice Smith appeared together at the National Football League Players Association rookie symposium today in Sarasota, Fl., a public statement neither of them would have been willing to make a month ago.
The two sides are meeting all this week in Minnesota in an attempt to avoid a delayed or canceled 2011 NFL season. Goodell and Smith traveled to Florida together for the event.
The NBA, on the other hand, seems destined for a lockout. The deadline for a new agreement is Thursday at midnight, and rather than meet both today and tomorrow, as the players suggested, NBA commissioner David Stern chose only to meet on Thursday, which will likely result in only an announcement of the lockout.
Both labor disputes are over the collective bargaining agreement between owners and players unions. The NBA wants the players to get less than the 57 percent they make from revenues and they want to shorten the length of players' contracts. NFL team owners also want players to take a pay cut. They also want to lengthen the NFL season from 16 to 18 games.