Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The NFL's Anti-Union Tactics Backfired, So They Punished the Only Owners That Didn't Play Along

If anyone hasn't been following this story, this summarizes it well, and it drives me a bit nuts that people either aren't giving it enough attention or covering it in the right way. Thankfully, ESPN's Dan Graziano has had this thing nailed from the beginning and has been willing to call a spade a spade with respect to the league's behavior. Here's his summary:
The league's owners agreed on a collusive plan to restrict spending in a season that had no salary cap, knowing they were going to lock out the players the following offseason in an effort to break their union and grab a larger share of league revenues for themselves, and then in retrospect they decided they didn't like the way two teams deviated from the backroom deal. It's big-money corporate scheming at its worst, and the Redskins are right to be angry about the way they were treated. Common sense would dictate that they could get some of the cap money back. 
When the NFL negotiated their last CBA, the uncapped year was a "get" for the players in negotiations. The players wanted this because they were betting that an uncapped year in the final year of the deal would drive up salaries, which would be enough of a deterrent for the owners to start bargaining in good faith rather than locking them out.

What happened in reality is that all the two owners decided to play by the rules and treat it as an uncapped year. What happened with the rest of the league? Well, they colluded to pretend that the uncapped year didn't exist. This is not legal. We have a word for it. I think it's called "collusion". When the lockout ended, and the owners had had their asses handed to them in every way possible, they decided that they would extract revenge from the two owners who refused to join in their illegal activities. Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones were also apparently two of the owners most opposed the lockout, which I'm sure is a huge coincidence. (Another coincidence is that the person giving out these penalties, John Mara, is the owner of the Giants, and  a division rival of both the Cowboys and Redskins.)

If you're asking why the players union didn't fight more on this, it's because the NFL told them that if they didn't sign off on these penalties, the salary cap wouldn't go up next year. I don't know how that's legal either, but that's never seemed to bother Roger Goodell before, so why would it now?

Anyhow the skins are making noises about suing the league, and I hope they do. This would freak everyone the fuck out, because I can't look at a scenario where the NFL isn't at least guilty of colluding during the uncapped year. And then that could screw with the NFL's anti-trust exemption  which is the one thing they really care about. If for no other reason, they should sue to further humiliate Roger Goodell, because getting rid of him would be a huge black eye for all the asshole owners who led the lockout last time, and would maybe force them to think twice about doing it again.

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