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Meet The Newest Excuse For Not Being Able To Control Your Players: The Salary Cap

Listen up, American sports executives. Your Australian rugby counterparts have come up with a new excuse for not being able to control their players: the salary cap.

Blaming the salary cap was the idea of a couple of front offices in the National Rugby League premiership following several off-the-field incidents. Check out the video above for just some of the recent crimes that have impacted rugby in Australia. Most of the crimes have been blamed on binge drinking.

(Binge drinking? In Australia? That’s just shocking.)

The most recent incident came when Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles player Brett Stewart was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl. Since Stewart apparently cannot be held responsible for his own actions, the event was blamed on a lack of veteran leadership on the team – which critics say is a product of the salary cap.

The idea was mentioned by chief executive Todd Greenberg of The Bulldogs.

“A lot of our senior players are being forced out due to salary cap restrictions,” Greenberg said. “You can’t underestimate the importance of old heads. They play a much more significant role than simply on the field. The importance of senior players is often overlooked. We recruited Michael Hodgson and Brett Kimmorley for the direction they give off the field as well as on it.”

Not surprisingly, Greenberg’s theory had support from another club, the Brisbane Broncos. Why did Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen agree with this? Three of his own players were accused of sexual assault last year.

Some executives have still retained their sanity. Gold Coast Titans managing director Michael Searle said, “I’ve never seen the salary cap with a gun.” On a completely unrelated note, the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals slogan will be “Salary Cap With A Gun.”

While some team executives are defending their players, the National Rugby League is taking a strong stance on athletes who make the league look bad. Stewart has been suspended for several weeks (albeit for another drunken incident) and has also been removed from the league’s advertising campaign.

So the battle between teams and league brass when there is an incident is universal. Instead of the NFL having a bunch of uncontrollable criminals in the league, could it just be that there’s no veteran leadership due to the salary cap?

That seems about as unlikely as owners and front office staff worldwide accepting that part of the blame lies with them for continuing to employ players who have had problems with the law.

Salary cap to blame for binge drinking, says Dogs boss [League HQ]

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