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De Smith won’t say whether players will refuse to play with replacement officials

DeMaurice Smith AP

The notion of a player walkout over replacement officials may not be all that crazy, after all.

Three days ago, we explained that the players could boycott games officiated by replacement referees, even though the labor agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA contains a clear “no strike/no lockout” clause.

Now, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith won’t say whether the players will refuse to work if the league plans to use replacement officials.

Amy K. Nelson of SBNation.com asked Smith whether players will refuse to play in the Hall of Fame game on August 5, if replacement officials are assigned to the game.

Said Smith, “Even if we were, I wouldn’t tell you.”

The use of “even if we were” arguably implies that they aren’t, and that they won’t.  Indeed, they wouldn’t skip a game check last year for their own financial interests.  And players routinely say and do things that show they have no regard for their own health and safety, from lying about concussions to complaining about efforts to remove dangerous hits to resisting rule changes aimed at requiring players to wear more pads.

Still, the NFL surely prefers that no one pay attention to the fact that the league’s leverage in the lockout of game officials consists of using third-tier-and-lower replacement officials.  The more that players and the media and the fans realize what could be coming, the more pressure the league will face to ensure that the regular officials will be used — and the more leverage the regular officials will have in negotiations.

Regardless, the players no longer are on the sidelines in this fight.  The question becomes whether they’ll remain on the sidelines if asked to play with anything other than the best available game officials.

They probably won’t.  But they also won’t be remaining silent, either.

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8 Responses to “De Smith won’t say whether players will refuse to play with replacement officials”
  1. rajbais says: Jul 27, 2012 5:56 PM

    They have no choice, but to play.

    That’s how they make their living otherwise they’d be paying legal bills all day! Just go ask Vilma’s!!

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 27, 2012 7:17 PM

    NFLPA players picked up their regular refs and left the playground. They said they were going home.

  3. ronaldmexico7 says: Jul 27, 2012 7:37 PM

    De Smith…what a winner.

  4. denverscott says: Jul 27, 2012 8:56 PM

    Stand next to Brees, Vilma, Wallace, and every other tool trying to bring down your employer. You JUST might. Good luck after that you Prima Donna P’sOS. YOU blew it with the CBA so now you want no one to earn a living, is that it? Shoot yourself in the foot fools. No judge is going to pay you if you refuse to play. Nowhere in the CBA does it say that you need the same Ref crews or you can legally stop your commitment and get your cheddar. NOWHERE. Refuse to play with replacements… unemployment will get you through the season but something tells that $400 a week won’t even cover your carbo loads. Hell, give every player in the CFL a chance, some might turn heads.

  5. eaglesfan290 says: Jul 27, 2012 10:24 PM

    What is wrong with this guy!

    I am so sick of De Smith and his BS!

    Look you signed the new CBA, play the game!

  6. trojanwarrior007 says: Jul 27, 2012 10:54 PM

    how is D Smith still employed? the fact that the franchise tag is still around should be enough to send him packing.

  7. giantsfanlewis says: Jul 27, 2012 11:02 PM

    So scared of the NFL getting more calls wrong then they do ok a game to game bases already. Only fans of the pats, packers and the big 4 qbs want these disgrace of officiating to get what they want. Everyone else sees them as the bums they are. Come in 25(if you work pre and post season) weeks a year to blow calls and protect the icons from the wind that may pass the brow of pour arron rodgers(see giants vs packers post season 2011

  8. firedup1 says: Jul 27, 2012 11:04 PM

    This guy needs to go.

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