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With Aaron Rodgers dissatisfied with Packers, mediators describe how two parties resolve a conflict

Posted at 4:47 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 20:56:52-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- It's about as high-profile a case as they come. And even for someone who deals with disputes, this is rare.


"In my opinion, both sides [in a dispute] have to want to reach a resolution or reach an agreement," local lawyer and mediator John Claypool said.

Claypool helps conflicting parties reach agreements. So how do two disagreeing groups find common ground?

"It's no different than a personal relationship," he said. "The parties need to be able to communicate, because each side has to be able to understand where the other side's coming from."
The Appleton-based attorney says mending fences requires honesty on both ends.

"It requires you to also appreciate your weaknesses and the other side's strengths," Claypool said. "Because without that, it's going to be really tough for the parties to reach an agreement."

And Packers GM Brian Gutekunst admitted to one weakness he believes might have ruffled Aaron Rodgers' feathers.

"I certainly look back to last year's draft and just kind of maybe some of the communication issues we could have done better," Gutekunst said.

That's the type of confession Claypool says might move things forward in any argument.

"There's nothing wrong with a little humility," he said. "And there's nothing wrong with admitting when you may have done something wrong."

And as Rodgers and the Packers reportedly feud, Claypool says a third party is always a smart addition to a conflict.

"There's nothing more effective than two parties sitting down in the same room and hashing it out, as long as you have a good mediator there who's kind of controlling the dialogue a little bit to keep everybody reined in," Claypool said.

Lane Harstad, an Executive Manager with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, says roadblocks are always possible when two parties attempt to reach an agreement.

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"Sometimes there are barriers," Harstad said. "Maybe there's current things in place that don't allow them flexibility. They have to try to be able to be creative, maybe think outside the traditional box of what kind of things are happening, look for alternatives that you may not be aware of."

Harstad says two players might not want to come to terms with each other at all.

"Getting them to the table and keeping them at the table is a craft," the Midwest-based mediator said. "They need to have some kind of conversation or some dialogue, otherwise they just continue to just be polarized. They're not moving the process forward... and maybe they don't want to."

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And there are number of reasons why opposites don't want to attract.

"Sometimes it's a power play," Harstad said. "It takes two sides to tango. ... Rather than pointing fingers at someone else, sometimes mediators are in position to have both parties get a reality a check."