John Mara OK with villain status in D.C.

PHOENIX -- Rich Campbell of The Washington Times asked New York Giants owner John Mara about his status as Public Enemy No. 1 among Washington Redskins fans since the management council (of which he's the chair) imposed $36 million in salary-cap penalties against the Redskins a year ago. Mara played along:

It was at these meetings last March when he told reporters the Redskins violated “the spirit of the salary cap” during the uncapped 2010 season. “Quite frankly, I think they’re lucky they didn’t lose draft picks,” he said.

Mara believes those words prompted his vilification.

“I think that’s where it comes from, but it’s over and done with,” he said. “It didn’t exactly hurt them. They put together a hell of a team last year.”

Mara also told Rich that he is not the one who orchestrated the penalties, instead shifting the responsibility to "the league office and the players' association," which is a bit disingenuous since the NFLPA was not involved in this situation until Mara and the management council decided on the penalties and the league had to strong-arm the players into signing off on them under threat of a reduced league-wide salary cap. Mara earned his villain status among Redskins fans by leading the charge for the penalties long before that time and by publicly defending them a year ago.

But as he points out, the Redskins won the division last year and the Giants missed the playoffs.