NFL replaces official refs who refuse to train replacements – takes NFL-issued laptops
Earlier this week it was reported that the NFL fired official nine refs that were to train replacement refs. The replacement referees would take official ref’s places should the lockout of the officials continue into the season. Now the NFL is saying that it did not fire those 9 refs they simply replaced them. A league spokesman told the LA Times that those officials who refused to train replacements were “seasonal employees who have decided not to work at this time.” He went on to say, “We asked for their NFL-issued laptops back so that those who are working right now can use them.”
Great spin, NFL. For the record, I’ve already complained about the seasonal employee status of official refs. Yes the NFL only operates September – February, but still officiating is a high stress, high skill job and it should be considered such. NFL refereeing affects lucrative business such as betting lines and even fantasy stats. The NFL’s statement is just a way to make it seem as though officials are like people who go work at retail stores to make money around Christmas time. Their impact and necessary knowledge is much greater.
The longer this referee lockout goes on the more I get concerned. I read a stat the other day that said official referees throw 15-17 flags in a game and in the past replacements have thrown between 1-5. That’s a lot of missed holding, offside, chop block, helmet to helmet, and pass interference calls. It would give a new definition to the phrase “let them play.”
Sidenote: The NFL is a 9 billion dollar tax exempt entity. I refuse to believe they needed those laptops back!