Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen ripped the NFL and the NFL Players Association at a 4.30 press conference today, calling the $36 million salary cap penalty levied against the Redskins a year ago a "travesty of fairness." However, Allen said the team does not plan to file a lawsuit to halt free agency and denied that had ever been their intention. While Allen said the team remains committed to getting all or some of the $36 million returned, he gave no indication of how that might happen.
Allen began by saying he wanted to address the NFL's decision and the NFLPA's acquiecense to that decision and end certain speculation about the intentions of the Washington Redskins going forward.
Allen said "We've never contemplated a lot of the creative ideas I've been reading" regarding the $36 million penalty, adding "we never contemplated a lawsuit."
Regarding the penalty, Allen said "there was no trial. There was no hearing... We learned about the penalty from agents and the media." He said the Redskins were never warned they'd be punished by the NFL and noted that "every contract we submitted to the NFL and NFLPA was reviewed and approved by both the [league] and players association."
Allen added: "we did violate any rule or regulation. We were never warned."
Clearly annoyed and eager to get a few things off his chest, Allen lashed out at the process leading to the penalty, denying the Redskins ever violated any rules during the cap-free season of 2010. In addition, Allen said the team was never informed that the NFL and NFLPA would reach an agreement to punish the Redskins after a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. "We don't feel we were fairly represented in this case," Allen said.
What's more, Allen said he had no idea how the NFL and NFLPA agreed on the sum of $36 million for the cap penalty and has still never been informed about that process.
While the justification for the penalty was maintaining the competitive balance the NFL is so famous for, Allen caustically noted that several NFL teams will have more than $100 million in cap space in excess of what the Redskins will have during the next three years. "I don't want to hear about competitive balance," Allen sneered.
As to why the NFL would inflict this penalty on the Redskins, Allen indicated Washington's considerable 2012 cap room and the trade made to move up to draft Robert Griffin III were strong motivating factors. At the time of the penalty the Redskins had the 18th-most cap room in the NFL and had just traded for the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Allen said "we will always fight for the Washington Redskins ... as we learn more ... we will continue to consider our options." However, he did not indicate what those options would be and without a lawsuit, it is difficult to understand how the Redskins plan to recoup the money. "I don't know if there's anything to overturn. This is an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA. All teams have to abide by it."
When asked if he thought the NFL engaged in illegal collusion during the uncapped 2010 season, Allen smirked and said "No. No." His smile fooled no one in the room.
It seems to me that Allen said what the Redskins ought to have said a year ago and I don't understand why they've waited so long to say what had to be said. Perhaps they held off in the hopes that they could get the money back if they held their tongues. If so, their gamble did not pay off and the NFL seems determined to punish the Redskins for refusing to abide by the rules of the league's illegal collusion during the uncapped year of 2010.
It seemed to me Allen was justifiably angry about the penalty and decided to unburden himself of these opinions since it is now clear the NFL will go forward in its plan to punish the Redskins. This was not a team confident of getting justice. This was the GM of a team speaking out of justifiable frustration and anger at a process that has been unfair, but will go on nonetheless.