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It's hard to take seriously Roger Goodell's recent proposals to somehow tighten up the competitive integrity of the NFL and bolster public confidence. By "take seriously" I mean it's hard to believe that some of these measures being floated will be particularly effective over the long term.

Goodell has informed the league's competition committee that he wants to allow for unannounced inspections of locker rooms and press boxes and in-game communications equipment. That part seems to make sense. But he also wants to somehow exert what appears to be broad and somewhat vague rules to extract truthfulness and cooperation from the teams by requiring club employees to provide reports of even suspected violations. Plus, he wants top-level organization members (owners, top execs, head coaches) to stipulate that they're in compliance with rules under the threat of discipline.

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On the surface, all this sounds okay, I suppose, but the portions about employees becoming whistleblowers against their bosses and the bosses taking vows of compliance feels so broad and vague that it will have little long-term effect. What does Goodell plan to have these owners, team presidents and head coaches do? Sign an annual non-cheating pledge before their tee times at the league meeting every March? My suspicion is that the real purpose of committing such proposals to paper and having league owners vote on them is simply a little theater for the edification of the public and particularly to appease Sen. Arlen Specter, who has been on the league's case.

Frankly, even if Goodell's arm waving and finger wagging is all for show, I'm not particularly offended. The commissioner has to do something I suppose and this is what business executives do these days -- make earnest declarations to show that they're being proactive, even if it is just window-dressing. But think about it, no one around the league was making a big deal about team-on-team espionage before Spygate. As we all know, if they're given a half a chance to whine -- about lousy scheduling, for instance -- NFL teams will whine to high heaven.

To me, it's all pretty simple. Whatever the league allows in terms of going to school on another team, make the rules crystal clear. What is out of bounds also needs to be clear. Update the rules yearly to stay current with available technology. Make sure the rules are enforcable. Have mechanisms in place to accomplish that enforcement. And make the penalties for wayward coaches and the team officials above them on the organizational flow chart unambiguously affirmative -- meaning draft picks, suspensions and for repeat offenders, even expulsion.

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