Is the NFL's (Roger Goodell's) decision to levy massive salary cap penalties against the Redskins and Cowboys a travesty? Absolutely. But that's only if the rules apply. Collusion? Well, that all depends on how you sell it to a regulating body. If the government refused to regulate the derivatives market as speculators bought multiple insurance policies on garbage "AAA" CDOs they didn't own, what are the chances the Attorney General investigates a professional sports incident that could be written off as sour grapes?
Sure. When there is no cap agreement in place and you tell teams not to spend more than a certain amount while taking pains not to document any of it (incriminating is your word of the day), a red flag is raised. That's what makes the redistribution of that cap space to other teams such a stroke of genius. That mollifies the NFLPA and economists as well...but believe it or not, that's probably just a smokescreen.
All the Rog has to say is that the NFL is ONE big business and that he is watching out for the health of his business. A few divisions misbehaved and hey, he understands there is a lot of money that won't get spent in the DC and Dallas areas, but they were warned and that money will be spent elsewhere. And that's IF the AG comes knocking...which he won't.
As Sharp reminds us in a tremendous piece:
If there's a law later on, you can't go back and punish people who broke a law that didn't exist. This is basic common sense, and also a pretty basic legal principle. It doesn't apply to the NFL here because the NFL operates as one private business, not a marketplace.
The Redskins and Cowboys can appeal, but there is no crushing counterstroke. This business is a monopoly; that means quietly asking Rog to reconsider, but seeing as how the hammerblow came down right before free agency kicked off, ego has to be involved. That's a pissing battle not even Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder combined can win. And who would have thought that was even possible?
Admittedly, I'm out of depth with the specifics of legal issues and hopefully there aren't any errors of logic above. Mostly I'm just frustrated that there appears to be no avenue of appeal for the Redskins in the face of an obvious injustice. Watching an organization too big to fail write its own rules, as an American, is starting to feel too damn familiar.