The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys lost their appeals against the National Football League and NFL Players Association when arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank dismissed the case. This appeal was filed with an arbitrator as mandated by the last CBA, so this ruling only has legal weight inside the confines of the NFL.
The 12-page ruling handed down by Stephen Burbank hints that this isn’t over by a long shot. The ruling suggests the Redskins and Cowboys have “other avenues of relief”. In other words, the teams can’t challenge the case under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but they retain the right to sue the NFL in court to have this case overturned.
So far, the teams appear willing to let the case drop. In a joint statement by Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder, the teams suggested they would “abide by the arbitrator’s decision to dismiss” and went on to say: “We will continue to focus on our football teams and the 2012 season.”
Before I Get to My Rant
First of all, what strange bedfellows this case has made. The Cowboys and Redskins are issuing joint statements, while the NFL and NFLPA are joint defendants in an arbitration case. Next thing you know, Bill Belichick will be featured on Rex Ryan’s next rap album.
I Know This Is Repetitive, But…
Something about this whole turn of events seems unjust. If the NFL thought these contracts were unfair, they shouldn’t have approved them back in 2010. The Cowboys and Redskins had less money to front load contracts these past 2 years because Roger Goodell and the NFL said those contracts were okay. After two years of being told everything was fine, the teams were then told they would have millions of dollars less to use in 2012 than the other 30 teams. The Cowboys lost $10 million over the next two years and the Redskins lost $36 million.
Those dollar amounts affected how Washington and Dallas approached free agency. They simply could not add players they wanted, because Roger Goodell announced two days before free agency started, “Hey, you guys will play with less.” This is the kind of micro-managing that the NBA got into when they voided the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, except the NBA actually owned that team, so their meddling made more sense. There you have it, Roger Goodell: I just compared your NFL Front Office to the NBA Front Office.
Them’s fighting words in this neck of the woods.
What a bad precedent to set. The NFL can come along at any time and tell teams, “I didn’t like how much you paid Tom Brady two years ago, so let’s say he’s actually going to cost $30 million instead of $20 million against the cap this year.” Roger Goodell can wake up one morning and say, “I had a dream that Adrian Peterson’s contract should have counted more against the cap because he’s so darned good. For the sake of competitive balance (in my own mind), I dock the Minnesota Vikings $10,000,000.”
And if the teams don’t like it, the arbitrator (since 2002) will say, “Oh, but you can sue the NFL if you don’t like it.”
Get ready for more lawsuits, Roger Goodell. You’re heavy-handedness is going to cause a reaction. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I bet Al Davis is rolling over in his grave.