NFLPA: We did not agree to 'collusion' in advance

NFLPA: We did not agree to 'collusion' in advance
February 26, 2013, 5:30 pm
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With the news that the Redskins are talking about taking the NFL to court over their salary cap penalty, the issue has returned to the front burner. And a video shot last September has emerged and it shows Goodell talking to a group of fans about the Redskins salary cap penalty. 

In the video, Goodell appears to say that both the teams in the league and the National Football League Players Association were told before the uncapped year that there could be sanctions against teams that spent in such a way as to create “competitive issues”. Here is what he said early in the video:

“When we went into the uncapped year we told everybody including the union that we were going to make sure that competitive issues were going to be considered when we came out of it.”

And, towards the end of the video, he seems to reiterate that the union signed off on the concept of punishment for competitive balance issues in advance of the uncapped year. 

“Those are the kinds of things that need to be balanced in and the players association and us agreed to that. That’s what we agreed to and every club was told that in advance and the players association was told that that would be an issue when we negotiated.”

When asked for a response, NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah said in an email that he thought that Goodell must have gotten his words mixed up because the union was not told about possible penalties for spending prior to the 2010 uncapped year.

"I'm sure Roger didn't mean to say that we agreed to collusion, because we didn't,” Atallah said via email. “I'm also sure he didn't mean to say that we agreed to penalize teams for their failure to participate in collusion in advance of the uncapped year, because we didn't.”

So the NFLPA is extending Goodell the benefit of the doubt on these comments because there is simply no way that the commissioner could have thought that the union agreed to collusion before the uncapped year.

An NFL spokesman declined to comment, saying that the case is closed.