By Mark Pierce
If one considers the absolute audacity of today’s decision by arbitrator Stephen Burbank to dismiss the challenge of the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys to salary caps imposed by the league, one must accept that no matter the civilized face it dons for the public, no matter how many arbitrators it can produce on its own behalf, the NFL is still run like a rough and tumble business. Accede that the good old boy network is in its rightful place in the heavens and that they are in place and in charge. You want to know what goes on around here? Ask one of the owners. They know. Game over. Pay the man.
Oh, so that’s how it works. Even in the face of mounting legal issues, they’re gonna be like that. It’s really unfortunate.
They can blather on about increased awareness of player safety, and the tragedy of life
altering injuries, and the latest rule changes, and they can trot Roger Goddell out there to appear stern and fatherly, and hand out big fines for big hits, and it’s all really about one thing. Protecting themselves legally. They want to be able to say we did A and B and C for these players. Today, though, with the Redskins and the Cowboys? That was about power. Who was in charge.
Remember, we’re talking about fines that were imposed on the two teams that concerned contracts that the league itself had already approved. They raised the issue at an owners meeting after the season was already over. All 32 teams were supposed to be entered into this silent, presumably mafia-like contract of death. We all agree to keep costs down this year, so the cap will be lower next year. Agreed? Everybody? Salud. Collusion, it’s called. They conspired to keep their own costs down. That’s um, illegal, I think. Anyway, the Redskins and Cowboys decided not to do it. Screw it. What, Dan Snyder must have thought, they gonna arrest me for not agreeing to do something illegal? Not even in football, thought Jerry Jones.
The part I love is when the league starts droning on about the Redskins and Cowboys trying to gain unfair competitive advantage. Like, who in this league doesn’t try to take of every advantage they can get? Unfair nor not. Injuries aren’t fair, but they provide one team with an advantage, generally speaking. Is that unfair? Some people might say it was. Can you see the carousel you can get on with this unfair advantage business?
In any case, I think if the hypothetical question were to be asked, both Jerry and Danny would say they were both pretty pleased with their teams this year, thank you very much, fine or no fines.