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NFLPA still concerned about replacement officials, but what action will be taken?

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A year after the players weren’t willing to sacrifice their financial interests via a lockout that would have cost them plenty of money if it had lasted into the regular season, they’re apparently unwilling to put their safety interests above those same financial interests.

The players, through their union, claim to be interested in the potential impact of the latest lockout — the lockout of officials — on their health and welfare.  But it looks like the words won’t be transformed into action any time soon.

“There are two teams on the field competing,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Monday while visiting 49ers camp, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.  “[The officials] are the only people on the field with an eye toward health and safety while the game is progressing.

“We shouldn’t be at the point where we’ve made great strides in health and safety and then take a step back by pulling the best people off the field.”

He’s right.  Regardless of who is or isn’t being hardheaded beween the NFL and the NFL Referees Association, the gap doesn’t seem wide enough to justify risking the health of the players.

So what will the NFLPA do?  “It will become more significant as we progress in the season,” Smith said, via Cam Inman of BayAreaNewsGroup.com.

Actually, it won’t.  The risk is as significant as it ever will be when the officials are new to the job.  They’ll get better with experience, and the risk will drop.

It could be that Smith is suggesting that the issue will become more significant later as a way to refrain from taking action now.  After all, there’s no way that the players will walk out; there’s no point in even trying to muster support for a strike.

So why not force the league’s hand with some sort of a grievance?  If a player were to sue the league now for exposing him to unreasonable risk of harm with third-tier-and-worse officials, the NFL would argue that the lawsuit is precluded by the labor deal’s grievance process.

So why not utilize the labor deal’s grievance process?

Well?  We’re waiting.

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25 Responses to “NFLPA still concerned about replacement officials, but what action will be taken?”
  1. mrqwag says: Aug 21, 2012 1:38 PM

    The regular officials were bad, but these officials are really bad.

  2. panamon says: Aug 21, 2012 1:38 PM

    The “safety interests” involved are marginal at best, nice try though Florio. The people with their full attention on safety are off the field and have managed to do their jobs just fine for a long time.

  3. beavertonsteve says: Aug 21, 2012 1:39 PM

    Let me get this straight, Austin Collie wants to risk his 5th concussion in 2 years and the players think that the replacement refs are the biggest safety issue?

  4. cuse6468 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:41 PM

    The guys on the field will keep improving. The clowns striking are rusty, over paid and think too much of themselves. Nuts to them

  5. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Aug 21, 2012 1:43 PM

    Oh, goody- another chance for people to bash Smith and the NFLPA.

    There’s nothing the players can do, as not only can I not see the suggested lawsuit having a remote chance of being successful, but if the NFLPA comes across as suit happy it could harm their other pending litigations against the NFL .

  6. sj39 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:45 PM

    You mean the players “union” will cross the picket line of a brother union?

  7. onereasonableman says: Aug 21, 2012 1:45 PM

    What evidence is there that the league is exposing the players to an “unreasonable risk of harm?”

    Has there been a higher rate of injuries in the first two pre-season games than there was last year?

    As you suggest, the replacement refs are already getting better. Didn’t Mike Pereira get his start as a replacement?

    Perhaps the answer is, the replacements aren’t really all that bad and the Regulars should get to the bargaining table sooner rather than later.

  8. mjkelly77 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:46 PM

    “We shouldn’t be at the point where we’ve made great strides in health and safety and then take a step back by pulling the best people off the field.”
    __________________

    Ironically, it’s not the NFLPA that ever cared about the safety of players. The changes that have come about and the punishments meted out are being mandated by the NFL. It’s clearly a case of ownership saving the players from themselves.

  9. randyschwimmer7 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:50 PM

    I have to admit. I was one of the fans that always moaned and groaned about the bad officiating by the normal NFL Ref’s. There is a plate of crow that I have to eat now. I have watched every single preseason game and these replacement refs are just atrocious. Missed calls, over zealous calls, not facing the camera, not knowing what number they are calling out, not showing safety concerns for any of the players except the quarterbacks. These replacements make each game at least 20 mins longer each game. They spend so much time just trying to figure out what half of the rules are for each play. This has to stop and the regular refs have to get back in there.

    Plus, none of them could wear a medium shirt when he should be wearing a XL like Ed Hoculi and keep it from ripping. Dude is JACKED.

  10. mvp43 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:57 PM

    What has become clearly eveident to me this past couple yeras is that both the NFL & the NFLPA say a lot of crap that make no sense. The NFL’s main goal is player safety, yet they were e pushing 1n 18 game season. The NFLPA main goal is player safety, yet tehy have dragged their arfse on the HGH testing.

    If both sides were truly concerned about the players and not their wallets, these would never become issues.

  11. nygmenruleny says: Aug 21, 2012 2:02 PM

    The NFLPA won’t do anything about the refs being locked out for the same reason they didn’t do anything about the authority that Goodell has for punishment. THEY DON’T WANT TO LOSE THE MONEY!! Besides, if the players really were that worried, they would not have played a pre-season game (where they don’t lose immediate money, the owners do) and forced a resolution to this about a week ago. Billick and the Ravens refused to play a pre-season game a few years ago due to safty concerns. Guess the players think the replacement refs are good enough.

  12. yooperman says: Aug 21, 2012 2:10 PM

    The regular officals all have other jobs, so they should just wait it out. While the owners, say the replacement refs are doing fine, wait till one of them cost Jones or Kraft a game. We’ll see if it’s ok then.

  13. mikeyhigs says: Aug 21, 2012 2:10 PM

    When rules are put in place in the name of player safety, the game doesn’t become safer that day. Instead it takes a prolonged enforcement of the rules to change the culture and the way the game is played. And by the same token, having replacement refs doesn’t suddenly make the game unsafe. Players are still being taught to play within the rules (and will be fined and suspended if not.) But if the enforcement of the rules loosens up over time, players will start to bend the rules more and more. Maybe then you could argue that player safety is at risk

  14. pjamdragon says: Aug 21, 2012 2:11 PM

    isn’t in the replacement officials best interest not to be as good as the regular NFL refs, giving the regular refs more leverage, in turn, meaning more $$$, considering that these replacement officials aspire to one day be regular NFL refs?

    meaning more $$$ for them down the road…

  15. ncfloyd says: Aug 21, 2012 2:17 PM

    The current players are not concerned about their long term health. If they are then they would more actively supported the locked-out officials. But wait 15 years and the ones looking for a handout will bring this up as being exposed to unnecessary risk. Maybe they should have used the opportunity for a free college education to actually get an education so they could work if they don’t have as much earnings as they would like rather than asked to get paid a second time for the same work.

  16. doctorfootball says: Aug 21, 2012 2:19 PM

    There’s no doubt that there are noticeable differences between these refs and the regular ones but, most of the mistakes they made are the same ones that the regular guys make all the time. Monday Night Countdown was making fun of the replacements for giving Andrew Luck a touchdown on the slide that just fell short of the endzone. Well, I remember Vinny Testaverde getting credit for a touchdown in which his helmet broke the plane but the ball was well short of the goaline. And remember, the regular refs have had YEARS of NFL experience. These other guys are new. They will get better.

  17. karlpk says: Aug 21, 2012 2:25 PM

    I find it curious.
    Does the NFL really not understand that many of their most devoted followers are also people who also gamble, no, love to gamble on the outcome of the contests? You know, spread-wise!
    I’m gonna’ put my money on a contest governed by amateurs?
    I’m gonna’ get myself annoyed and watch as they invariably screw up?
    No way, to both.
    It’s autumn, there’s lots of nice weather left, I love my Packers but won’t be watching until the pro refs come back. As fans we have to have some standards – lines that shouldn’t be crossed product-wise. For me this is it.

  18. geniusfan says: Aug 21, 2012 3:05 PM

    A grievance Mike? Come on you’re better than that. The NFLPA are a bunch of hypocrites just like every other whiny union.

    Like an above poster mentioned Austin Collie has another concussion and wants to keep playing. If he’s joining a lawsuit in 15 years claiming the league endangered him then he looks like a fool.

    That’s not the officials fault that’s certainly not the league’s fault it’s Austin Collie and his union’s fault.

  19. kellij666 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:31 PM

    remember, these are not even the top refs in the college game, those guys are getting ready for the season too. these refs are the bottom of the barrel guys not good enough to even be mediocre college refs. seems goodell is willing to sacrifice player safety after all even though he keeps claiming otherwise. this will do nothing for the nfl’s chances against the concussion lawsuits. it will help the players in the suit. he’s not even creating the illusion he cares one bit about the players’ safety. what a hypocrite.

  20. justwinbaby29 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:34 PM

    Nothing will happen if the NFLRA lockout goes into the season.

    I do think think it probably will go into the season but the minute the replacement officials cost a team a real game that team’s owner will be screaming at Goodell and it will be over.

  21. Canned Heat says: Aug 21, 2012 3:57 PM

    doctorfootball says:
    Aug 21, 2012 2:19 PM
    There’s no doubt that there are noticeable differences between these refs and the regular ones but, most of the mistakes they made are the same ones that the regular guys make all the time. Monday Night Countdown was making fun of the replacements for giving Andrew Luck a touchdown on the slide that just fell short of the endzone. Well, I remember Vinny Testaverde getting credit for a touchdown in which his helmet broke the plane but the ball was well short of the goaline. And remember, the regular refs have had YEARS of NFL experience. These other guys are new. They will get better.
    ___________________________________

    If you remember right, the slide rule was modified for quarterbacks back in ’05 or ’06, and when that play took place with VT, the old rule was in effect for a ball carrier, meaning he wasn’t down until he was touched by an opponent. Same way a ball carrier (who is NOT a QB) is today…he runs or catches a ball and dives, falls, or slides without being touched….he gets the credit for the yardage and can get back up and run if still in the field of play. Back in the day, before QB’s were completely pussified, that was the right call.

    I watched maybe 15 minutes of the Eagles/Pats game last night and saw some blocks in the back on a few plays that were missed, and I don’t know how. At some point, this will become an embarrassment for the league and they’ll have to buckle. It may take a big time injury to a big time player on an illegal hit that will go uncalled….but it’s coming. You can see the guys (and gal) getting better each week, but there’s an obvious drop-off.

  22. pobreezy says: Aug 21, 2012 4:09 PM

    Look, I’m hearing a lot of talk about the players not doing enough about safety but think about this,
    Every player in the game right now want to compete. It’s their job to play hard and fast lest they get cut for younger, better players. It is well known that players that get hurt will hide their injuries in attempt to continue playing, whether for the money or the pride for the game. If you get injured your job is now someone else’s, regardless of how good you are. Your position is forfeit.

    Also, with how important it is to have informed, aware officials to make calls and actions that really ARE there for player safety, such as blowing a play dead, it is very important to indeed have the best on field you can get. Since the players will not look out for their safety given they could lose their job, and coaches who want the best players on the field they can get, it really is rather ridiculous we still have this lockout.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have screamed at the television more times than I can remember about bad calls from “good” refs, but I don’t think I have ever seen the level of confusion I have seen in the replacements thus far. As a fan, I don’t want to see bad calls AND injuries related to officiating. Whatever the chances might be.

  23. annes22 says: Aug 21, 2012 4:45 PM

    The refs are terrible. Every game they make glaring mistakes. I know the regular ones makes mistakes, but some of these are terrible.
    Andrew Luck was not in the other night, but it counted.
    Wait until they mess up a proper meaningful game then the owners will go “nuts”.

  24. mrpowers88 says: Aug 21, 2012 4:54 PM

    Typical passive-aggressive comment by Smith- he realizes the only thing the union can do to open everyone’s eyes to the players’ “concerns” is to strike until the league and refs come to an agreement. The only thing is though, that there is an anti-strike/lockout clause in the CBA (Even though I think Florio has mentioned a loophole which the players could use in this case- if they choose).

    If Smith/the players are really that concerned for safety, they would find a way to avoid unsafe playing conditions- not leave safety issues for Goodell to handle by himself. If Goodell were in Smith’s position right now, I have no doubt that he would strike- and everyone would hate him for it, but he would be doing it for the welfare of his union members (which I’m pretty sure is a union head’s job)

  25. buffalo75vette says: Aug 21, 2012 8:36 PM

    Here’s an idea.. If the players are worried that the replacement refs won’t do a good job, then why don’t they pony up and pay them. Then they will have the right to complain about the officiating..

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