Kevin Burnett rips Roger Goodell

Updated: March 18, 2011, 11:53 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

San Diego Chargers linebacker Kevin Burnett delivered a verbal hit to Roger Goodell earlier this week, calling the commissioner a "blatant liar" in an interview with a San Diego radio station.

Burnett Goodell's full of it. He's a liar. You're a blatant liar. 'It's our league, it's we, we love the players, we want the league,' but what have you done for the players? What have you done, in all honesty, to improve the game, besides fine guys, besides take money away from guys, besides change a game that you've never played? ... He's done nothing to improve the game.

-- Kevin Burnett

Appearing on XX Sports Radio in San Diego, Burnett ripped Goodell when asked to respond to the commissioner's e-mail to NFL season-ticket holders after the NFL Players Association filed to decertify as a union and the NFL owners locked out the players. In the e-mail Goodell outlined the NFL's final offer that was rejected, saying "it was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players".

"Goodell's full of it. He's a liar. You're a blatant liar. 'It's our league, it's we, we love the players, we want the league,' but what have you done for the players? What have you done, in all honesty, to improve the game, besides fine guys, besides take money away from guys, besides change a game that you've never played? ... He's done nothing to improve the game," Burnett said.

The 28-year-old Burnett, who has six years of NFL experience, also blasted Goodell for the NFL's substance-abuse program.

"If a guy has a drug problem, give him an alternative, don't just say, 'Hey, stop doing drugs. Stamp. Six games.' ... You put them in a drug program," he said. "OK, anybody can stick somebody in a nuthouse, but what else are you doing? What programs are you putting in place?"

He also said that the NFL needs to take care of players outside of football if it wants to punish players for things they do off the field.

"Because they suspend players outside of playing football. Is that their responsibility? No. They want us to be upstanding citizens, but if you want us to be upstanding citizens, you have to understand your role as well," he said. "In my contract, it says nothing about me being an upstanding citizen. ... That's what bothers me."

Burnett said Goodell doesn't measure up to former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who Burnett said was willing to sit down with the players and reach a compromise. He said Goodell essentially represents the owners' interests, not the players'.

He said that players are criticized for holding out but in this case, it's the owners who are doing the same to the players.

"Owners talk about players that hold out of camp and we talk about players who walk out of camp ... well, the owners signed this deal. They signed this deal. Yeah, it was an opt-out, but they signed this deal and now they want money back. Now they're the player that's holding out."

The NFL declined comment when asked by ESPN to respond to Burnett's remarks.