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Players seek mediation of anthem controversy

The NFL doesn't want to go to mediation with Colin Kaepernick and this could be about avoiding amplifying the situation.

As the NFL and a coalition of players tries to resolve the anthem controversy, the players have suggested a vehicle for a possible agreement.

Per a source with knowledge off the situation, the players have requested, via letter from 49ers safety Eric Reid to NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent, a formal mediation session. This would entail the hiring of a third party to preside over settlement talks aimed at reaching a global agreement.

Reid has asked former teammate Colin Kaepernick to attend the session, and Kaepernick has agreed. The players would like the mediation to encompass Kaepernick’s collusion grievance, too.

The NFL has not yet responded to the letter; Reid requested to hear from Vincent on Monday or earlier.

The request comes at a time when the players believe that the league does not have a clear approach to the issue or its desired outcome. As one source explained it, the players believe that Commissioner Roger Goodell and Vincent aren’t on the same page -- and the players (along with everyone else) know that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is at odds with the league, since Jones wants the league to compel the players to stand.

Mediation is a formal proceeding, but it does not lead to a ruling or any other formal outcome imposed by the mediator. The goal is to give the parties a structure for working out their differences, with a neutral party pushing them toward an acceptable middle ground.