The San Diego Chargers linebacker went off on the NFL commissioner during an interview Thursday with XX Sports Radio in San Diego. Burnett was asked a question about Goodell's letter to the players, which outlined the league's final offer to the NFLPA. He responded with a blistering diatribe against the commissioner:
"[He's] full of it. He's a liar. You're a blatant liar. 'It's our league, it's we, we love the players, we want the league,' but what have you done for the players? What have you done, in all honesty, to improve the game, besides fine guys, besides take money away from guys, besides change a game that you've never played? ... He's done nothing to improve the game."
Though no Goodell apologist myself, to say that he's done nothing for the game is a ridiculous statement that negates all the arguments that come after it. You can disagree with Goodell while still acknowledging that he's helped increase television revenues and ratings. Burnett goes on to make some good points in the interview but his anger clouds everything he says. Nobody listens to the guy ranting on the street corner.
The linebacker goes with the tried and true "you've never played the game, so you don't know how it is" card in his first attack on Goodell. Come on. That's been run into the ground more than LaDainian Tomlinson(notes). What's his next point, "takes one to know one"? If Burnett subscribes to the theory that Goodell doesn't know what the players need because the commish has never played football, then the linebacker has to accept that he doesn't have the first clue how to run a league because he's never put on a suit and walked into a skyscraper on Park Avenue.
Burnett continued to blast Goodell when asked about the league's drug policy:
"If a guy has a drug problem, give him an alternative, don't just say, 'Hey, stop doing drugs. Stamp. Six games.' ... You put them in a drug program. OK, anybody can stick somebody in a nuthouse, but what else are you doing? What programs are you putting in place?"
Couldn't the same question be asked of DeMaurice Smith? What's the role of the player's union if not to protect the players. Why is it Goodell's problem if a player takes drugs? There's a rule in place and if a player breaks it that's nobody's fault but the individual's. If you get caught taking drugs at your place of business, what's your boss going to do: put you in rehab or fire you on the spot?
One player's anger makes not a trend. Still, it's disconcerting that the rhetoric between players and management has turned negative so quickly. Eight days ago there appeared to be realistic hope of a resolution before a lockout. Now, such a prospect seems a long way away.
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