By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we ask Berger if the mediator will help at all, if Stern's Christmas threat is significant, and what his favorite lockout story has been. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. Federal mediator to save the day! Hurray! .... Yeah, I'm not buying it. What's the best and worst case scenario from the meeting with the FedMed Monday?
KB: Well, each side will be interviewed separately by the mediator on Monday, and then he'll supervise a bargaining session Tuesday. The only prediction I'm comfortable making is that Mr. Cohen will not be pleased that Stern placed such unrealistic expectations on coming out of Tuesday's session with a deal. After two years of stalemate, a DEAL after ONE session with a mediator? Ridiculous. Beyond that, best-case scenario is that Cohen can get each side to see the importance of compromise, considering what's at stake. Worst case is, both sides completely ignore the mediator and continue starting blankly across the table at each other.
2. Stern said on radio Wednesday that if an agreement isn't in place by Tuesday, we could lose the Christmas games with the entire season in jeopardy. It's October 14 and he's talking about games on December 25 through April. So... who, exactly told Stern the best plan was to rush out holding a grenade without the pin and say "DRAW!?"
KB: Christmas, Schmistmas. This is part bargaining tactic, and part reality -- the more time that goes by, the more money each side loses, and thus, the harder is becomes to make a deal. But to place that much importance on Tuesday is borderline irresponsible. The reason the league can't participate in bargaining under the mediator's supervision the rest of next week? Because of the all-important owners' meetings Wednesday and Thursday in New York -- where the all-important revenue-shring plan, TWO YEARS in the making, will be discussed. Um, without a collective bargaining agreement, you know how much revenue there will be to share? None.
3. The systemic issues are the problem, allegedly, so much so that they haven't talked about the BRI. If they get past the systemic issues are they going to hit a roadblock with both sides thinking they compromised too much systemically to go any further on BRI?
KB: Stern obviously is trying to corner the players on a 50-50 split, which I imagine the players would only accept if the $600 million or so expense in reductions are put back in the pot before dividing it up. And clearly, that's not going to happen. The players have already moved more than $1 billion, the difference between 57 percent and 53 percent. The questions are: 1) how much more can they move and sell the deal to the membership; 2) would the owners take a 52-48 split in favor of the players if they get the most important system changes and concede on the rest; and 3) at what point does each side lose so much money that there's no BRI split that either one would agree to?
4. OK, who the hell brought up 50/50 first? Can someone please settle this?
KB: There are clearly defined, very different versions of how this went down. Classic he said, he said. Personally, I choose to believe that I brought it up first, with my cake.
5. Favorite lockout stakeout memory of 2011? I know you have one.
KB: Oh, there are so many. Getting dating advice from a Turkish limo driver about 12 years after it would've been useful is right up there. So is the 50-50 cake, and sidewalk food delivery. But the sissy fight between two camera/sound men on Monday night had to take the, um, cake.