Why Can't Roger Goodell Go One Day Without Lying?

Let's go on a magical trip to the NFL's fantasy world, where the penalties on the Redskins and Cowboys have anything to do with football. Indulge them when they tell you that two teams spending more than a nonexistent salary cap in the uncapped 2010 season constituted "an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance." Ignore the collusion of the owners and the kowtowing of the NFLPA, and pretend, just for a moment, that the NFL is more concerned with parity than with keeping salaries down across the board.

To do this, you'll have to ignore the six teams that spent less than a mythical salary floor that season. Try it! It's easy. Roger Goodell just did it again today.

In 2009, under the old CBA, every team was required to spend $107 million in payroll. Presumably it would have been around the same the following year, when the CBA didn't apply and there was no cap, and no floor. But seven franchises spent less than $107 million. In one case, nearly $30 million less. If the Cowboys and Redskins were taking advantage of an uncapped year to spend more and try to win, isn't it just as injurious to "competitive balance" to take advantage of an unfloored year to spend less, tank the season, and pocket the profits?

Nope! Not here in Roger Goodell's NFL. The commish was asked if the league had a problem with Tampa Bay, which spent just $80 million in 2010.

"No there was no issue there," he said. "(The question was) did any teams gain a competitive advantage. That was the focus that we and the (players union) had moving forward. That's why we reached an agreement . . . so no one had a long-term competitive advantage. That's what the NFLPA and we agreed on."

See? No mention of "competitive disadvantages." And the NFLPA agreed to the penalties, which has been Goodell's go-to vindication of the league's bullying. But the league bent the union over and forced them to accept the penalties to Washington and Dallas because if they didn't, the league wouldn't raise the salary cap for next season. That's just a union looking out for the best interests of its members, but at the expense of others. What about all the players cut from those seven teams that didn't reach a notional salary floor in 2010, who might've had jobs otherwise? Why not clamor for the floor to be raised in 2012 for those seven teams, as a flip of the punishment given the Redskins and Cowboys? Are these questions too logical?

Just fucking say it. Drop the "competitive balance" and "competitive advantage" line and just say it's collusion, and Snyder and Jones didn't go along with it, and now you've got 30 other owners ticked off at them for throwing the curve. Just say you're cracking down because your bosses, the owners, want you to lay down the law. And because the NFLPA is too impotent to fight back. And because few people are going to call you on it, and even then no one's going to do anything about it. It's your world, Roger. Own it.