Arbitrator upholds Cowboys-Redskins' penalty

An NFL special master upheld the NFL salary-cap punishment of the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys today. University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank ruled that the two NFC East clubs' combined $46 million in salary-cap penalties were valid for overloading contracts during the uncapped season two years ago as they ignored league directives not to do so.

The Redskins were penalized $36 million over a two-year span, and the Cowboys lost $10 million.

"We pursued our salary cap claim pursuant to the CBA and we respect and will abide by the arbitrator's decision to dismiss," the Redskins and Cowboys said in a joint statement. "We will continue to focus on our football teams and the 2012 season."

The NFL punished the Redskins and Cowboys in the interests of maintaining competitive fairness.

However, the deals were approved by the NFL management council.

Critics of the penalties have said the NFL engaged in collusion to hold down player salaries.

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