Roger Goodell, Pink Slime, and How They are Related
Posted by Alan Edwards
First off, apologies for no reviews for the last 2 Walking Dead episodes. I am still in full Mass Effect, so I have watched exactly 1 television show since last Tuesday (Archer, of course. How you say, push the rope?) so I am behind. Avoiding spoilers for Walking Dead and Mass Effect 3 hasn’t been easy, and even averting my eyes hasn’t stopped me from seeing little bits and pieces I wish I hadn’t. So anyway, hopefully I’ll get those episodes down and digested and reviewed soon. I do know this: based off the little I’ve heard, those two reviews may be the most bile-filled spewing of hate of them all.
Back to the news.
You probably don’t care about what I’m about to talk about. It involves professional football bargaining agreements, salary cap discussions, the Washington Redskins, and the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s big ole swingin’ dick. There are other fun subjects after that, including fanboy gushing over Robert Griffin the Third as well as some scrumptious and delectable ponderings over ammonia-washed “beef” “trimmings” that get turned into goo and added to ground beef to make meat cheaper. It’s a fun-filled potpourri of goodness!
OK, first off. On Monday, the NFL, led by the Ginger Asshat Roger Goodell, decided to levy a penalty on the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. The penalty? A reduction to the two teams’ salary caps over the next two years. The Cowboys, who were $5 million under the 2012 cap, got hit with a $10 million salary cap reduction. The Redskins, about $31 million under the cap, got hit with a $36 million dollar penalty. This reduces the two teams’ cap for 2012 and 2013, and that reduction gets spread to 28 of the other 32 teams in the NFL, meaning other teams get more money to spend. So what did those teams do? Secretly film other teams’ signals in an effort to gain competitive advantage? Pay players under the table for purposefully hurting other teams’ star players? Uh, actually, no.
What those two teams did was spend too much money in 2010 on players. See, in 2010, there was no salary cap. Which means that teams didn’t have to adhere to a fixed amount of money to spend on players. Under a cap, there is a maximum and minimum that teams are allowed to spend. However, the 2010 season did not have a cap because the owners decided to void their agreement with the players’ association (which caused last years’ lockout). When they did this, the owners were fully aware that this would cause the 2010 season to be uncapped. Meaning there were no rules in place about how to spend salary dollars in 2010. Pretty simple.
So, the two teams were penalized a total of $46 million dollars for not breaking any rules. The league has also acknowledged that the teams didn’t actually break any rules. However, they are levying this ridiculously large penalty anyway, because the two teams “upset the competitive balance” of the league.
First off, I deserve congratulations for getting this far without cursing even once. Asshat doesn’t count.
Secondly, there is no mention or discussion of the teams that went way below the normal salary floor, like Tampa Bay. One might think that a team deliberately getting rid of players to save money and fielding an inferior team might also create a competitive imbalance, but there is no penalty forthcoming for those teams.
Also, the NFL has indicated that there were “verbal warnings” to teams instructing them not to spend too much money (or in actuality, structuring contracts in such a way that the bulk of the dollars fell into the definition of 2010 dollars, a concept that every team fudges and futzes with “likely-to-be-earned” incentives, roster bonuses, and all kinds of contract shenanigans, but we’ll just simply call it “spending too much money” for now) during 2010, despite there being no actual rule about it. Whether or not this constitutes “collusion” is a matter better left to lawyers, so I won’t bother going there.
Finally, the fact remains that each and every contract done in 2010 was signed off by the Commissioner’s office. They have to be (that’s an actual rule). So the NFL knew about those contracts, said nothing, then 2 years later came back with an absurd penalty. How absurd? Let’s demonstrate with another example from the Goodell Era.
In 2007, the Patriots were caught breaking explicit rules regarding the use of videotape to ostensibly steal the signals from other teams. They were judged to have done so. The team was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round pick. So, essentially, chump change and a player (although the dollars they didn’t spend on that player were totally available to sign any other players they wanted). By not breaking any actual rules, the Redskins have $36 million dollars less than they can spend (spread over 2012 and 2013) on actual players, drafted or undrafted or free agents or whatever. That will absolutely affect the teams ability to sign and retain players. It’s completely and utterly absurd. That “imbalance” in 2010 caused the two teams mentioned to dominate the regular season – actually, no, it didn’t do anything, since neither team made the playoffs.
So what’s next, Swingin’ Dick? Did the Saints create a “competitive imbalance” by paying players to hurt other players, and are therefore going to have their Lombardi Trophy taken away and awarded in 3 pieces to the Cardinals, Vikings, and Colts? Did the lack of good camera angles in 1972 create a competitive imbalance since there was no way tell if Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception was legal, and all 4 Steelers’ Super Bowl wins are null and void? Is having Belicheck and Brady on the same team a competitive imbalance? Are there any other arbitrary non-rules you are going to assess ridiculous penalties for? Do teams who sign contracts in purple pen despite being asked not to (no rule, mind you) have to now get sent down for 3 years to compete in the NCAA? Any other stupid fucking arbitrary fuckwad decisions going to be made this year, you fucking assmunching douchebag?
Well, I made it pretty far before losing it. I’m proud of myself.
If I’m Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, I sue the league and say go fuck yourselves. The fact that the league made this pronouncement less than 24 hours before the start of free agency was just a complete dick move on top of being completely fucking stupid based on the facts and rules. Way to go, NFL. Fucking bunch of dumbasses.
In other news, Pink Slime finally gets its place in the sunshine. This delightful substance, which consists of all the things of a cow you don’t actually want to eat that gets scooped up off the floor and washed in creamy, delicious ammonia, has been revealed to be the stuff that some meat producers add to ground beef in order to make it cheaper. Hey, it’s OK! The USDA considers it beef and A-OK and yummy and delicious and therefore doesn’t really needs to be disclosed or mentioned or brought up or acknowledged, especially if you’d like to keep your job in the USDA. Hey, if it comes out of a cow, it has to be beef, right?
For some reason, people decided to get all fed up about this disgusting fucking practice that makes me want to avoid processed beef for the rest of my natural life. Already, companies that use it are suddenly switching away from it, stores that don’t sell it are happily proclaiming it, and there is a shitload of “no comment”s from everyone else. Here is a helpful fucking rule of thumb for companies, and people for that matter: if what you are doing would make you look bad if it came out, whether it’s “industry practice” or not, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. Because if you don’t want people to know about it, there has to be a reason, right? All I know is, I am absolutely going to start making my own ground beef, or going to a place I trust, like really fucking trust, like a fucking farm that I can walk around and see everything they do and all that shit. Fuck, maybe not even then. Just grind my own.
In less rage-inducing Redskins news, the team traded a shitload of draft picks for the right to the second pick in this year’s draft, likely to be used on Robert Griffin III (or RG3 for short), the quarterback out of Baylor. When I first heard this rumored possibility months ago, I hated the idea. Then, the crop of free agents and other players that might be available and were linked to the Redskins came out. Peyton Manning. Love him. Don’t want the 36-year-old version with the bad neck. Matt Flynn. I think he’ll be decent, but wasn’t keen on spending a shitload of money on a completely unproven backup. Kyle Orton. Uhh, well, the words “Kyle Orton” sum up how I feel about him. Of course, they could also stick with Sexy Rexy and the Stormin’ Mormon. Yeah. When the talk about drafting a quarterback later in the draft came around to a guy that was 28 years old, I’d had enough. I was ready to write a check to the Rams and do my part to entice them into trading it away.
And RG3 has some things going for him. He’s smart (graduated college in 3 years, wants to go to law school), humble, poised, and all those other intangible things. He’s also fast as shit, I mean really fucking fast, has a strong arm, completed 72% of his passes his senior year, made Baylor a 10-win college team working with a bunch of spare parts. I don’t hate the trading of 3 first-round picks and a second for him. I love it. It gives a shitload more reasons to watch the team play than anyone else they could have signed. So I’m 100% behind this. I’m a Redskins fan since birth. Having 1st-round picks isn’t something they ever had a lot of, anyway.