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Bruce Allen: Travesty of fairness

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Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

A full transcript from Redskins general manager Bruce Allen’s session with the Washington media regarding the salary cap situation. The NFL removed $36 million from cap space in 2012 and 2013 for violating what the league said was an agreement not to dump bad contracts into the uncapped year of 2010. The Redskins have largely been silent on the matter until Monday. Allen opened with a statement and then took questions.

 

“The reason I wanted to talk a little bit today is that there’s been a lot of speculation about the course of action the Redskins have considered or not considered in regards to the NFL and NFLPA’s decision to remove $36 million of our cap room and give it to a hand picked number of teams.

“I must say there’s been some wild speculation that’s been bandered around in the media about what might happen. I’ve enjoyed reading some of it. But we’ve never contemplated some of the creative ideas that I’ve been reading.

“Let me discuss some of the facts that we’ve learned over the last year in what I call a travesty of fairness. One year ago at this time we learned form player agents and the media that the NFL and the NFLPA had reached an agreement to take 36 million dollars of our cap room. Contrary to some of the public comments that I’ve seen from the chairman of the NFL’s CEC committee, according to commissioner Goodell or NFL lawyers we did not violate any NFL rule in 2010 or 2011 or any regulation. Also contrary to the rumors and off the record conversations that NFL people have had with various people in the media, the Redskins were never told or warned that the NFL and the NFLPA would reach an agreement two years later to punish us. Let me be crystal clear on this point. There is no trial. There is no hearing. There is no backroom discussions involving the Washington Redskins.

“Despite the fact that the NFL and the NFLPA supposedly represent all the clubs and all the players in the league we don’t feel we were fairly represented in this case. As we stated before and has been confirmed by the NFL, every contract we submitted to the NFL and the NFLPA during the [2010] season was reviewed an approved by both the commissioner’s office and the NFL Players Association. Unfortunately we’ve heard four different stories on how the number 36 million was reached at by the NFL and the NFLPA. Therefore we do not have an answer yet on what the truth is as to how they reached that number.

“The NFL and NFLPA have used phrases of competitive balance or competitive advantage over the years. So let’s go back a year ago at this time when the decision was made to do this and let me explain what competitive balance was in the NFL at this time. We were just coming off our fourthconsecutive season of a fourth place finish in the NFC East. The New York Giants were Super Bowl reigning champions. According to documents  supplied by the NFL lawyers to an arbitrator, the Redskins were 18th in the league in salary cap room for the 2012 season and we had just announced we made a trade with the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 choice overall. Ironically today there are some teams that have over 100 million of salary cap room than we do over the next three seasons, but I don’t hear anyone talking about competitive balance or that being a competitive advantage. Although the NFL and NFLPA agreement was made to somehow slow our progress I’m very proud of our team and our organization in what we were able to accomplish in a winning fashion. I want to assure you our coaches and players are doing everything they can to improve on last year’s performance.

“In the same manner as last year we are not going to allow this to be a distraction to our team for the upcoming season. We’re excited aobut the upcoming free agency that starts tomorrow and looking forward to next month’s draft.”

Q: Did you not receive that warning or was some warning sent to the Redskins and all the teams to be careful about how you structure contracts?

Allen: We did not violate any rule or regulation at any time… I’m telling you what we know. We did not violate any warning. I also said we were never warned that they would come back two years later and punish us? No.

Q: Can you still fight it? What’s the next step

Allen: First of all we’ll always fight for the Washington Redskins. This team is very important to a lot of us. This is our job. It’s taking care of the players and coaches in the organization. It’s for our fans. As we learn more we’ll look at our options as we go on. But right now we’re focused on free agency and the draft.

Q: So you’re not planning a lawsuit against the NFL?

Allen: No, we haven’t.

Q: Do you consider litigation an option and if not what other options are there?

Allen: There are various things. We have never contemplated a lawsuit. I know its like lawyer fantasy or fantasy lawyering and the different theories people can do. We feel comfortable where we’re at as a team and our mindset getting ready for the season but we’ll always look at our options.

Q: Short of litigation, how  can you fight it?

Allen: I don’t know if there’s anything to overturn. This is an agreement made between the NFL and the NFL Players association. They agreed to this. As with any rule that is an agreement between the two all the teams have to abide by it.

Q: Do you believe collusion took place and the Redskins are being punished for not taking part in it?

Allen: No.

Q: How could something like this happen where the management council is reprenseeting the owners in collective bargaining and then it turns out that they basically voted against you guys and impose this penalty without you having a say?

Allen: If you go back even further to following the lockout there was a collective bargaining agreement that both sides worked very hard to negotiate. When I say both sides, the players’ association and the league. At that point we had an agreement that would live for 10 years and didn’t anticipate that one year after that there would be an adjustment to our salary cap.

Q: It’s the council that’s representing the league and they’re at the negotiating table with the NFLPA and presumably you’re excluded form that because you weren’t aware of this process?

Allen: I won’t get into specifics but yeah, there’s a group of people that negotiate on behalf of the league and the players’ association has different groups and the size could be one or two people up to 20 at a negotiating session.

Q: Is it safe to say you hold that group accountable for what’s happened in the cap penalty?

Allen: We hold both sides accountable. It’s unfortunate. We are where we’re at right now and fortunately our players are working with us in order for us to maintain our team and improve on last year’s season.

Q: Is the implication that this group who negotiating for the league sensed an up and coming team and wanted to make sure you ascend?

Allen: I don’t know that. We were coming off a last place finish. I can’t try and speculate what people were thinking at the time I just know the end result.

Q: You said a hand-picked number of teams received the cap money? The league said they spread it out to every team.

Allen: 28 teams got the Dallas and Washington amount of cap room.

Q: Anyone ever give you an inkling when you turned in the contracts?

Allen: No, never.

Q: I read a story that you did a similar contract arrangement with Jeff Faine with a similar structure and clause. Is that true? Is that part of your argument as to why you were singled out and others were not?

Allen: In Oakland and Tampa I did voidables with players having the right to buy out. That’s no different than Albert’s contract. I have no idea how to answer the rest of the question. But I’ve done this practice before.

Q: What options left for you?

Allen: There’s some. And we’ll just continue. We would like to know the truth and we’ll find it

Q: In regards to the cap, do you see your cap as being reduced by 18 million or is there a scenario where you proceed with the same cap as everyone else and and challenge contracts?

Allen: No, we’re using 36 million less than other teams.

Q: Do you still think there’s any way get part of that cap space back?

Allen: I would hope so. I would hope so.

 

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