Though we don’t intend to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a chronic PFT pin cushion, we can’t ignore the stream of bizarre developments from a football organization run by a G.M. and a coach who were thrust into their jobs when the team decided suddenly and unexpectedly to fire Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden after the 2008 season.
Apart from Mark Dominik’s recent off-the-record public statements regarding left tackle Donald Penn, whom Dominik claims the team hasn’t signed to a long-term deal because he gained 40 pounds during the 2009 season, Dominik has acknowledged a somewhat bizarre attempt to persuade Penn to accept his one-year, $3.168 million tender offer.
Dominik recently claimed that Penn could be fined for not attending a mandatory minicamp that opens next week. Dominik’s statement obviously was incorrect; a player not under contract cannot be fined for missing any mandatory activities.
So why did Dominik do it? Per various media reports, a team spokesman said that Dominik made the remark in an effort to persuade Penn to sign the tender offer.
It’s the latest example of the acceptance of lying as a standard business practice in NFL organizations. And as we’ve said many times in the past, we believe that it flows from the reality that on-field success in the sport routinely comes from fooling the opponent on the field, via strategies like the zone blitz, the play-action pass, the draw play, the Statue of Liberty, the surprise onside kick, the fake punt, the fake field goal, and various other strategies. Off the field, deception routinely is employed when it comes to the draft, and when negotiating with players.
Typically, however, teams are most discreet about their truthful indiscretions. In Dominik’s case, he assumed that Penn and/or his agent and/or the media and/or the fans were dumb enough to believe that a player not under contract can be fined. And so now, as a practical matter, Dominik has little or no credibility regarding anything he says.
In any other industry, it would be fatal to Dominik’s future. In the NFL, it shows that he has the basic skills needed for running a team, and that he merely needs to hone them.