Scab Referees Endanger NFL Players, League Reputation
September 18, 2012 10:50 am
Calls for a return of locked-out NFL referees grew louder yesterday, as blown calls and late hits lent credence to union referees’ claims that the lockout is putting NFL players at risk. Players and analysts took to twitter to express their disgust with the
inexperienced scabs, with 13-time Pro-Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis pleading:
“How much longer are we gonna keep going through this whole process? I don’t have the answer, I just know across the league teams and the league are being affected by it. It’s not just this game, it’s all across the league. And so if they want the league to have the same reputation it’s always had, they’ll address the problem. Get the regular referees in here and let the games play themselves out.”
Scuffles and accusations of dirty play hinted that NFL players view the inexperienced refs as occasion to game the system — late hits, holding and grabbing after the whistle seemed to be fair game in many of weeks two’s contests. Certain journalists likened the scab refs’ attempts to maintain order to those of a substitute teacher in an unruly classroom. The league was also forced to bench a replacement official slated to officiate the New Orleans Saints/Carolina Panthers game after he was revealed to be a longtime Saints fan. Apparently, no amount of embarrassment will keep the league and its owners from making an example out of the real refs.
As talks resumed for the first time in a month last week, NFL Owner Roger Gooddell implied that the league is digging in:
“There’s a short-term issue which we obviously would love to be able to get the best officials on the field,” commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN. “If we can’t reach an agreement, we’ll proceed with the replacement officials as long as it takes.”
The labor dispute is over about $75,000 per team and the union refs’ ability to maintain their current pension plan. That the league’s owners would sacrifice the integrity of the league and the safety of its players over this relatively miniscule sum truly boggles the mind.
Image from here