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NFLRA says NFL has ignored request to continue negotiations

Upon Further Review Football AP

While it doesn’t generate the kind of heat the lockout of players did last summer, the NFL’s current stalemate in negotiations with its officials is every bit as ugly.

National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) officials held a conference call with the media Wednesday, and said that the league has given “no indication,” they’re interested in returning to the bargaining table.

“The lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everybody,” Michael C. Arnold, the NFLRA’s legal counsel and lead negotiator said.

Arnold said that since talks broke off June 3, they’ve heard nothing from the league. In the meantime, the NFL is preparing to pick crews of replacement officials from retired officials and those who have called lower levels, as those who do Division I football aren’t under consideration. The NFL has another of what the NFLRA refers to as “scab clinics,” this weekend in Dallas, though some retired officials the league uses as trainers (such as Red Cashion and Jerry Markbreit) have refused to participate.

“The folks who are going to be on the field are not of NFL quality that coaches, fans and players are used to seeing,” said NFLRA President Scott Green.

While many fans and players treat this lockout with little more than a shrug, officials say their absence will be significant as the league tries to stress player safety.

Longtime official Ed Hochuli said players are aware of his presence when he’s on the field, and believes they’ll push the envelope on rules infractions if they know replacement officials are on the field.

Hochuli said NFLRA members continue to train as if there would be a regular season, going through video presentations and conference calls on rules changes.

“When the lockout ends, we’ll be ready to take the field the next day,” Hochuli said. “But let’s not kid ourselves, missing the preseason hurts.”

Hochuli said without preseason games, offficials would be as “rusty” as players would be without training camp, and said if the lockout isn’t resolved soon, missed preseason games would mean: “We will make those mistakes in the regular season.”

At issue, as you might imagine, is the economic proposals in play.

NFLRA officials said they’ve asked for small increases over what was prescribed in their previous CBA. One primary point of contention is pension benefits, which they contend the league wants to “freeze, then end,” Arnold said.

Arnold described the gulf between the two sides as small, saying over the course of a five-year agreement, it’s as little as $100,000 per team, per year. That’s another way of saying $16 million.

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14 Responses to “NFLRA says NFL has ignored request to continue negotiations”
  1. ryanchampeau says: Jul 18, 2012 1:20 PM

    The NFL should get rid of the current refs and hire full time refs that are under 90 years old.
    They should train recently retired players that know the rules and are faster than the current refs.

  2. dccowboy says: Jul 18, 2012 1:21 PM

    It’s another way of saying it’s $6,250/game

  3. douglamply says: Jul 18, 2012 1:23 PM

    I cant wait for robot officials in 2020.

  4. illiniftw says: Jul 18, 2012 1:27 PM

    Kinda funny the Refs thought they had similar leverage to the players.

    Refs: We want more money and pensions for our part time jobs or we’ll hold out!

    NFL: OK, have fun with that. Plenty of people would be happy with your jobs at the current pay.

    Refs: The NFL isn’t negotiating fair!!!

  5. areyoudue says: Jul 18, 2012 1:40 PM

    These guys are getting pensions from these part time “jobs”??? That seems a bit crazy to me…

  6. bigperm33 says: Jul 18, 2012 1:41 PM

    Let’s see, pre-Goodell, labor peace with the players. Since Goodell, we had a lockout with the players and now we are headed towards more labor disputes with the officials. NFL fans need to start paying attention because this guy is out of control. No one wants to pay attention to how this guy has abused his power, that is until he does something to impact your team. By then it is too late. I watched for years as Bud Selig’s poor leadership has hurt major league baseball; Goodell, in a very different way, is doing similar type damage to football. He took over the most popular sport in the country and all he had to do was keep the ship moving in a straight line. instead, his ego has got in the way and his abuse of power is going to hurt this league. This issue with the officials may not be the most important, but it is just another example of how he is not fit to be running anything.

  7. billinva says: Jul 18, 2012 1:54 PM

    It’s a shame they can’t just lock out Ed Hochuli.

    His ego is bigger than his muscles.

  8. baron30 says: Jul 18, 2012 1:56 PM

    you are pandering to the NFL w/ that “That’s another way of saying $16 million.”

    its 3.2 million dollars a year…that is nickles and dime in light of the money factory that is the NFL.

  9. cletusvandam says: Jul 18, 2012 1:56 PM

    The regular officials were really bad, because they knew that no matter the mistake, nothing would/could be done to them.
    I’m guessing the replacements won’t have this luxury.

  10. jlb10 says: Jul 18, 2012 2:07 PM

    bigperm33 is speaking the truth!

  11. dkalev says: Jul 18, 2012 2:16 PM

    “are not of nfl quality the coaches fans players are used to…”
    so that is to say, no quality?
    then bring in the replacements!

  12. vetdana says: Jul 18, 2012 3:01 PM

    its 3.2 million dollars a year…that is nickles and dime in light of the money factory that is the NFL………………..

    There are many signs that point to the NFL ” Money Factory” as not being able to continue escalating profits as usual……..We may start to see NFL profits blow away in the wind of this current dust bowl.ie…if this economy does not start to respond but goes further in the tank, as many economists predict, you can bet the NFL is going to feel it…even now attendance problems are significant in many stadiums.

  13. calv23 says: Jul 18, 2012 3:04 PM

    Referees are the first responders to injury, and often serve as prevention. If Goodell really were as serious about player safety as he wants to appear, he would treat referees as such.

    When you step back and look at the way Goodell has handled this, the lockout last year, and “bountygate”, it paints quite a mosaic.

  14. blackandbluedivision says: Jul 18, 2012 3:16 PM

    Get rid of the refs on the field and make it all automated.

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