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NFL Referees Association accuses league of “falsehoods”

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Not long ago, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association were involved in cooperative, collegial, and, consequently, boring negotiations.  Since Sunday, the situation has deteriorated.

The league locked out the officials, and the NFL has commenced rounding up replacements for the 2012 season.  The fans don’t seem to care, given the perception that the current officials aren’t any good.  (Guess what?  The replacements definitely won’t be any better.)

The parties then launched a public back-and-forth, with the NFLRA claiming the league never intended to work toward a fair deal and the NFL contending the officials planned to drag the process out until the season approached and launch a strike.

The NFLRA has now responded to the league’s response.

For starters, the officials contend that the league omitted reference to its plan to freeze and later terminate their pension plan.  The officials then accuse the league of deliberately lying.

“The NFL stated that it did not take action to contact replacement officials until ‘after the union advised us in March of its intention to take a strike vote and told us of its plan to drag out the negotiations until late summer,'” says the NFLRA in a statement from lead negotiator Mike Arnold.  “This is patently false. The NFLRA has never threatened to strike. After repeated references by the NFL during negotiations regarding its plans to obtain replacement officials the NFLRA briefed its members at its Annual Meeting on April 21, 2012. No strike vote was taken at the meeting. In fact the NFLRA’s directive to its membership was to prepare for the season and to perform each and every task assigned to them both before and after CBA expiration. This continues to be the position of the NFLRA. The NFLRA negotiating team expressly advised the NFL’s negotiating team of these directives at negotiating sessions held May 16, 2012 and May 21, 2012. The NFL’s claim to the contrary appears to be an attempt to divert attention from its predetermined lockout strategy.”

The public back-and-forth likely may or may not continue.  At some point, however, the two sides need to work out their differences.  It’s too early to tell who is or isn’t being reasonable.  Here’s hoping both sides will be committed to finding a fair resolution that works for everyone.

Though the game officials definitely could improve their performance at times, using replacements could only make things worse.  And the stewards of the game need to ensure that doesn’t happen.

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49 Responses to “NFL Referees Association accuses league of “falsehoods””
  1. tommyf15 says: Jun 5, 2012 1:49 PM

    The NFL “deliberately lying” during the course of a negotiation? That can’t be true!

    (sarcasm off)

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 5, 2012 1:53 PM

    They should have just said “lies” to differentiate from the “false” hoods the refs put their heads under to make erroneous calls on close plays.

  3. righthereisay says: Jun 5, 2012 1:55 PM

    Have more quick reviews like the NHL, and you won’t need them as much. Review more calls (Pass Interference, Unneccessary Roughness..)…

    Take the game away from the refs. The technology is there. Then you won’t have to pay them and you can keep your billions in profits.

  4. tinopuno says: Jun 5, 2012 1:56 PM

    Pension plan? These guys all have full time jobs outside football. Most have very good jobs from what we’re told. Who gets a pension from a part time job?

    The NFL officials are made up of a small group of that men that are highly qualified, a large group that are average to mediocre, and a small group that are positively awful.

    The entire group needs to have it’s karma leveled. The first step would be to jettison the obvious losers.

  5. nebster21 says: Jun 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    actually I think they will be better. If they impress the league than they will stay. Of course, until they make refaree a full time job and make it possible to fire someone for to many blown calls the job will never satisfy the fans. because in the form that the officials had last year the only accountability the officials have is that they will not officiate a playoff game. Which means they can still determine who makes the playoffs they just cannot help them any further.

  6. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Jun 5, 2012 1:59 PM

    Having gone through the agonizing updates , lies, counter lies and disinformation associated with the players lockout, the fans are in NO mood to do the same thing with the refs. I am refusing to read, listen to, or think about anything to do about this pissing match all summer.

    When all is said and done, they’ll be reffing the games when it counts so spare me all the palaver that goes with it. Over, and most definitely, out!

  7. snowpea84 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Do the officials realize that no one cares? They are extremely replaceable. Especially with the amount of replay being used. The calls that are still left in their hands are calls that are questionable every time anyway.

  8. noahbird says: Jun 5, 2012 2:05 PM

    I would rather have the officials back. Screw tiny college conference refs. They probably couldn’t handle the speed.

  9. steelersmichele says: Jun 5, 2012 2:06 PM

    I heard on mike and mike his morning that they make over $75,000 a year for being refs. That 16 days a year and playoffs. That is the minimum. Veteran refs get paid more sorry but I think they should take any offer given to them.

    I mean, they could be fined for blown calls or something–so if they want to make more money, then maybe there should be consequences for not doing a part-time job well.

  10. iambadkid says: Jun 5, 2012 2:08 PM

    yeah but this is the officials here why cant the NFL pay these refs what they want, usually this should be easy to negotiate a new CBA for the officials

  11. footballfanatic1906 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:13 PM

    I mean has to be atleast 15 yards!

  12. daysend564 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    Come on now. These guys work 48 minutes a year and then go back to their lawyer/accountant/etc normal jobs.

    If they deserve a pension, they need to be 100% dedicated to being a referee, not a weekend hobby.

  13. pftfollower says: Jun 5, 2012 2:15 PM

    Lets translate.

    “on April 21, 2012. No strike vote was taken at the meeting. In fact the NFLRA’s directive to its membership was to prepare for the season and to perform each and every task assigned to them both before and after CBA expiration”


    our private goal as decided by top leadership is to strike at the time we have most leverage, being right before the season. but lets publicly keep this quiet and portray the opposite to rank and file so we can play innocent if this goes bad. why, because professional negotiators understand leverage.

    then this happened:
    “The league locked out the officials, and the NFL has commenced rounding up replacements for the 2012 season. ”

    -oh crap. they know we are going to do the obvious inevitable thing to and are working to reduce our leverage (a legitimate negotiating tactic). good thing we kept our “strike plan” quiet so we can try and make the league look like the bad guy for having a “lockout plan”

  14. pickleman77 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    Someone needs to step in and referee this thing…..oh, wait..

  15. purplegreenandgold says: Jun 5, 2012 2:18 PM

    “The league locked out the officials”

    REALLY… i didnt know the refs had otas

  16. dldove77 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:19 PM

    “The public back-and-forth likely may or may not continue.” Thanks, Kreskin.

  17. granadafan says: Jun 5, 2012 2:23 PM

    Hmm, the NFL has now closed its doors twice now in two years during negotiations. There’s a pattern here.

  18. boswivel says: Jun 5, 2012 2:24 PM

    Oddly, nobody ever mentioned it again. It was too boring and there was nothing funny to say.

  19. treesloth16 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:28 PM

    Wow, you ref haters are such lemmings. These guys have to know all the rules for football (Donovan McNabb doesn’t even know all the rules), call games almost perfectly, and when they don’t, their families are subject to ridicule and harassment. And leave the rules to technology? How can a computer call holding (holding occurs on every play)? facemask penalty (5yrds or 15yrds)? false start (what about if the Center breathed heavily)? roughing the passer (the DE patted the QB on the helmet)? My bet is that the game would be slowed to >6hrs because computers are calling TOO MANY penalties. You wanna bake out in the Florida sun for 6+ hrs?

    Is $75K that much to you losers?? While the greedy hedgefund billionaires buy up $50million estates, let’s keep complaining about referees who make less than 1% of that, shall we?

  20. kodakinvegas says: Jun 5, 2012 2:31 PM

    Read they max out at 178k. I could handle that 10k a game plus “kick back”. Yeah, go ahead, but Farve up, I don’t see a think for 5K. Cart Warner off? No problem, meet me at McDonalds with nmh 10k and Bid Mac. Plus travel, hotel, food. Poor guys, how can they make at 2,600 hr part time? Boo freakin hoo

  21. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 5, 2012 2:33 PM

    Somebody get Scott Walker on the phone, let him be the NFL commish.. He will have the NFL RA disbanded in a week. Then we can get back to real football news.

  22. daysend564 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    So, is this like baseball? A new replay system was supposed to start this year, as voted on by owners and players. However, the referee union chose to not vote on it, so it couldn’t be implemented.

    If similar, the NFL could have gobs of replay abilities but if the referee unions don’t want to vote on it (take their power away on the field), it couldn’t be implemented.

  23. stevemdlthn says: Jun 5, 2012 2:43 PM

    Can anyone see that ROGER GOODELL is the common denominator in almost all the problems the NFL is having. Saints bounty for instance, if he would have been fair with the punishments, it would be over. No lawsuits and maybe a token appeal. That’s it. He has to go……..

  24. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 5, 2012 2:49 PM

    granadafan says:

    Hmm, the NFL has now closed its doors twice now in two years during negotiations. There’s a pattern here.

    Ya, todays’ unions are worthless and do more harm to those the represent than good.

  25. botchedextrapoint says: Jun 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    Went through a similar thing in Australia a while back. Refs are full time and their is a huge discrepancy in pay between the best and worst refs. Standards have gone up to a new level. Video is only used on scoring plays and that has only been this year.

  26. daryllh says: Jun 5, 2012 3:06 PM

    Remember that ref who asked Jerry Rice for his autograph the last time NFL used replacements?

    Yeah. That was both funny and lame.

    Just bring back Phil Luckett and we’ll all be happy.

  27. backstageatapuppetshow says: Jun 5, 2012 3:10 PM

    A very high percentage of these Officials are also attorneys of law…so being an NFL Referee is a nice side job/career…the fact that they are on the outside looking makes me smile….

    Won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things….

    As for who I believe in the game of “he said/she said”…..doesn’t matter…..both sides are just riding the coat tails of the men who do the real work….

  28. alaricsrevenge says: Jun 5, 2012 3:16 PM

    OK so I’ll kill all these birds with one post.

    Tiki is flabbergasted
    Drew want’s and explination..and
    Vilma want’s the evidence

    OK, did I miss anyone?

  29. dexterismyhero says: Jun 5, 2012 3:18 PM

    Ed Hoculi is flabbergasted and wants an explanation from Drew Brees.

  30. vikesfansteve says: Jun 5, 2012 3:35 PM

    75,000 to 178,000 salary range. They could easily be bribed for 20k or even less to throw games. Just takes 1 or 2 bad calls, a missed penalty, not overturning a call. It’s going to come out one day the fix was in on multiple games just like the NBA and college hoops. Just wait.

  31. flapjackdaddy says: Jun 5, 2012 3:35 PM

    I wish everyone would just shut up and find a way to give the fans what they want. We don’t want to hear about every little conflict. Figure it out.

  32. henryholland666 says: Jun 5, 2012 3:36 PM

    I’m totally pro-ref on this one. If the NFL thinks that guys like Hochuli, McAulay, Perry and so on can be replaced like they’re supermarket box boys, they’re sadly mistaken. They get an amazing amount of calls right and if that’s not good enough, go to replay on every play and see how many people stick around for 5 hour games (which will still only have about 15 minutes of actual play).

    I remember when the MLB umps went out on strike, the replacements were horrible. Watching the Rangers v. Angels game the other night, there were at least 5 bang-bang plays and the replays showed the umps got every call right. All in real time, live.

    Of course, they still don’t call the phantom tags at second on double plays, but still.

  33. petehemlock says: Jun 5, 2012 3:43 PM

    Whatever. I just hope they change the sign for a safety.

  34. tinopuno says: Jun 5, 2012 4:09 PM

    alaricsrevenge says: Jun 5, 2012 3:16 PM

    OK so I’ll kill all these birds with one post.

    Tiki is flabbergasted
    Drew want’s and explination..and
    Vilma want’s the evidence

    OK, did I miss anyone?


    Yes! English grammar class.

    (“Drew want’s and explination..and
    Vilma want’s the evidence”)

  35. mungman69 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:12 PM

    If you have ever been involved in labor negotiations you’ve seen this posturing before. It will all work itself out and right now I DON’T CARE.

  36. justwinbaby29 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:18 PM

    You can’t replace Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady but you can replace Walt Coleman or Jerome Bogar.

    These guys better be careful. If the “scabs” come in and do well Goodell might do what MLB did and just fire all the refs which aren’t exactly doing a stellar job.

  37. mjkelly77 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:21 PM

    It would have been stupid of the NFL had they allowed negotiations to continue until the NFLRA decided to strike just prior to the season starting. To prevent that unpalatable scenario, they’ve chosen to sign replacement referees. Nothing wrong with that. They’re merly showing the refs that they’d better cooperate because they no longer have the leverage of calling a last minute strike.

  38. covercorner says: Jun 5, 2012 4:28 PM

    The NFL is beyond greedy.

  39. skinsrock says: Jun 5, 2012 4:40 PM

    For a league that creates so much money… The NFL owners are the cheapest SOB’s around. If you were an NFL employee, you lost your pension 2 years ago when the NFL changed policy & now only the NFL Players/Coaches have access to the pension…. but the little man who needs it the most? The owners treat them like the ground they walk over to step onto their yachts.

  40. 4thqtrsaint says: Jun 5, 2012 4:49 PM

    Let’s see… Refs say the NFL lied… NFLPA says the NFL lies… The Saints have said the NFL lies… The nearly 2000 players in lawsuits against the NFL lies… For anybody taking the League’s side on anything… There’s a pattern here.

    I’m not saying everybody else is telling the truth, but if you think the league is completely honest about anything, please take off those rose-colored glasses.

    Why am I saying all this? To make a biased point… Anybody who ever said the Saints should be punished not because of the crime, but because they lied about it… Just remember my holier-than-thou friends… If the Saints did lie, it was to the biggest lying outfit of them all.

  41. eyeh8goodell says: Jun 5, 2012 5:00 PM

    The League Office isn’t looking so hot these days. I love it.

  42. eagleswin says: Jun 5, 2012 5:17 PM

    4thqtrsaint says:Jun 5, 2012 4:49 PM

    Let’s see… Refs say the NFL lied… NFLPA says the NFL lies… The Saints have said the NFL lies… The nearly 2000 players in lawsuits against the NFL lies… For anybody taking the League’s side on anything… There’s a pattern here.


    Actually, that’s not true. The Saints admitted and apologized for the bounty program. It’s their fans and players who can’t face reality. The Saints themselves, not so much.

    The rest is a real easy pattern. Broke exNFL players (see Jamal Lewis, etc) are looking for handouts. Some of the players suing haven’t played for 30-40 years!

    NFLPA is suing for what, $1,000,000,000. I can’t figure out why the NFLPA is looking to get out of this.

    The pattern is that the NFL is seen as an ATM machine and people are looking to make a large withdrawal.

  43. commonsensedude says: Jun 5, 2012 5:38 PM

    How do you “go on strike” from your part-time job??

    What are the officials going to say? “This weekend, during Week 5, I’m going to RAKE MY LEAVES!!! Take THAT, Roger Goodell??”

    The refs need to be glad that they’re not paid on the basis of their performance and go back to work. If not, I’ll forgo raking my leaves and sign up to be a part-time Ref. I might not get many calls right, but I can duck when the ball is being thrown in my direction. Subs can’t be that much worse than the real refs.

  44. gfan8611 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:41 PM

    I’m not surprised in the least. I wouldn’t trust Rodger Goodell as far as I could throw him.

  45. righthereisay says: Jun 5, 2012 5:44 PM

    Who do this people think they are? Public Servants?

  46. heymuzzwatchadoin says: Jun 5, 2012 5:50 PM

    (Guess what? The replacements definitely won’t be any better.)

    We don’t know that for sure. It’s possible that the refs association has become bloated, smug and have a sense of entitlement and self-importance, especially in light of instant replay increasingly marginalizing them and their judgements.

    I, for one, would welcome fresh blood in the refs corps. Maybe hungrier, eagerer and refs who still revere the game would be an improvement.

  47. flaccounibrow says: Jun 5, 2012 6:39 PM

    This guy is an inspiration. He will walk again. Neuroregenerative research with stem cell therapy will make paralysis a thing of the past.

  48. amg503 says: Jun 5, 2012 7:25 PM

    Really? You really want Ed Hocholi locked out? We all saw what the Hulk did to Loki in the Avengers, right? Hoch’s bound to do the same thing with NFL lawyers.

    Hoch smash!

  49. 4thqtrsaint says: Jun 5, 2012 7:42 PM

    Eagleswin… Show me where Vilma, Smith & Fujita admitted anything. Show me an admittance to a “bounty program” not a “pay-for-performance” that wasn’t crafted by the NFL.

    Do you actually read articles? Not so much. There’s more than six words past a headline & it probably confuses you.

    And man, you cleared that right up for me. Glad to hear Goodell & the NFL would never lie about anything. At least they have one believer.

    Btw, eagleswin, I have some lovely oceanfront property I’d love to sell you. 🙂

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