A breakdown of why the Washington Redskins drew a 36 million dollar salary cap penalty
As we all wondered the ins and outs of how something could first be okay and then totally and completely not okay, Sally Jenkins gave us the detailed history of why the Skins received a salary cap penalty for actions taken during an “uncapped” year.
It all has to do with what amounts to a quest by the Redskins to gain a competitive advantage. Jenkins writes:
What happened was this: Back in 2010, when the NFL entered hardball negotiations with the players union for a new labor contract, the owners warned each other not to use the situation to get a leg up. were in an uncapped year, with no limit on player salaries, and entering a tense and emotionally fraught labor situation, and they asked each other not to abuse the circumstances.
In essence they said, “Don’t try to set yourselves up to be in a better spot when this is over.” Think of it like a yellow caution flag in a car race: The drivers agree to hold their places and not to accelerate until the track is clear.
But that’s exactly what Snyder did. To a lesser extent, so did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones just sped up a little. Snyder apparently floored it. The Redskins shifted money, moved it, dumped it, and did everything they could to emerge from the labor pause with the books cleared of bad numbers, so when it was over they could get the biggest jump possible on other franchises in buying up new players.
Jenkins goes on to give a great synopsis about why Dan Snyder isn’t only disliked among scorned Skins fans but why his peers aren’t such fans of his either. I think it’s a worthy read.
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When all of this first went down I saw a lot of reporters screaming about collusion (and apparently Snyder is doing the same according to Jenkins’ article). I am definitely not a legal expert but I think that’s bogus. The NFL has built 9 billion dollars in profits using a business model that in ANY other industry would be collusion and disallowed. The softer term of socialism is typically used to describe how NFL owners work together to encourage profits for all–even Goodell has used the term during his 60 minutes profile. But the NFL, as much as it’d like to be, is not a society. It’s a sports league. A conglomerated trade association of sorts. And every single power player in it’s “industry” conspires to keep outsiders out and insiders profitable.
The term collusion only comes up when there is a perceived (or even a real) slight of sorts–including the owners’ push to slight the players by locking them out and now the majority of owners’ decision to punish a few for not rolling with the plan. The problem here, also, is that the group that was technically “colluded against” (the NFLPA) has also agreed to the penalty.