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De Smith calls officials lockout “absurd,” doesn’t rule out a strike

Super Bowl XLVI Getty Images

The talk regarding the lockout of the officials continues.  It’s still unknown whether the NFLPA will take action.

But the NFLPA hasn’t ruled out doing so.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, in an extensive interview with SI.com, was asked about the possibility that players will withhold services due to concerns regarding safety risks associated with the replacement officials.

“In America it is the employer’s obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible,” Smith told Jim Trotter of SI.com.  “We believe that if the National Football League fails in that obligation we reserve the right to seek any relief that we believe is appropriate.  The NFL has chosen to prevent the very officials that they have trained, championed and cultivated for decades to be on the field to protect players and — by their own admission — further our goal of enhanced safety.  That is absurd on its face.”

To some, the possibility of a player strike may seem absurd on its face.  We explained last month that it could happen, despite the presence of a no strike/no lockout provision in the CBA.  Still, if the players wouldn’t risk a paycheck in order to get a better overall deal with the owners in 2011, they won’t risk paychecks over safety concerns that, based on their chronic resistance to rules changes and fines/suspensions levied by the league office, don’t concern them.

Still, the NFLPA can do other things, from making the case for the lockout to end to filing a grievance or other legal action aimed at forcing the league to allow the locked-out officials to return to work.  It sounds like something tangible could be coming.

“We’ve been very public in saying that we believe on a scale of 1-10 the use of replacement referees in the preseason is a 12,” Smith said.  “That goes up to a 16 now that you’re entering into the regular season.”

Smith identified three “fundamental facts that are inescapable” in support of his views:  “One, the players and the league have made tremendous strides in trying to make the game safer over the last three years. The second fact is, at the players’ urging, the National Football League last year gave the referees more power to spot and deal with a concussed or injured player. The third inescapable fact is, over the last 20 years the league has done everything to maintain an experienced referee corps.”

He pointed out that, typically, rookie officials are introduced only with a team of experienced officials., and that the locked-out officials have nearly 1,500 years of experience.  So why would the NFL use entire teams of rookie officials?  “The only conclusion that I have,” Smith said, “is that the league cares more about money than it does about the experience of the referees as a vehicle to increase player safety.”

Smith also called upon owners to be involved in the process.

“The owners have invested in the players, and each and every owner loves what keeps the National Football League unique among sports.  And it’s two things, on any given Sunday a team could win; and every game matters,” Smith said.  “So my question to the owners is, because those two things are true, why would they ever want to leave the game in critical moments in the hands of referees that they ordinarily would never hire?  I mean, If these referees were so credible, how come they hadn’t hired them before the lockout?”

We’ve disagreed with Smith at certain times in the past.  It’s very hard to disagree with him on this point.

Using new officials creates a risk of errors that will affect the outcomes of games.  With the margin between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs at times razor thin and with recent history showing us that any team that gets in to the postseason can run the table, a bad, game-altering call in Week One could, in a roundabout way, have an effect on the outcome of the season.

The two sides simply don’t seem to be far enough apart to justify that risk.  The problem is that there’s no one who can clunk the parties’ heads together, Moe Howard-style, and force them to find a middle ground.

Until that happens, the two sides will continue to line up like the boys and the girls on opposite walls at the junior high dance, waiting for each other to make the first move.

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89 Responses to “De Smith calls officials lockout “absurd,” doesn’t rule out a strike”
  1. reesesteel23 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:37 PM

    Just bring me back…enough with the b.s.

  2. voiceofreasonsays says: Aug 28, 2012 8:37 PM

    I can’t believe this is the rep. for every single player in professional football. He looks so easy to fool. No wonder Goodell always gets his way.

  3. reesesteel23 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:37 PM

    Just bring em back…enough with the b.s.

  4. pftcensorssuck says: Aug 28, 2012 8:40 PM

    @ De Smith:

    Just. Shut. Up.

  5. skoobyfl says: Aug 28, 2012 8:41 PM

    Player’s defending the refs, lol.

  6. eaglesfan036 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:41 PM

    Giving the refs a raise costs the NFL an extremely small amount of money, just pay them already.

  7. canetic says: Aug 28, 2012 8:44 PM

    I look forward to hearing from De Smith as much as I look forward to hearing from Joe Pa’s family.

  8. nyyjetsknicks says: Aug 28, 2012 8:44 PM

    You’re not striking. Players are not giving up game checks for refs. As far as “players safety”, your own players admit to hiding injuries so that they can stay on the field.

  9. nygmenruleny says: Aug 28, 2012 8:45 PM

    De Smith should crawl back under the rock he came out from. He and the players have already lost any credibility on this issue. If they had REAL safty concerns, they never should have played a pre season game. The lockout would have been done in a week, not on the back burner until the refs cave. This is just a clumsy, worthless attempt to get himself on the news. I don’t know him, but I can’t stand him!!

  10. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:47 PM

    The regular officials have made horrible mistake after horrible mistake the last few years.

    The league has issued numerous fines for bad hits that were NOT flagged during the games. How is this protecting the players ?

    As to game changing mistakes they have also made a lot of horribly bad calls at crucial times. Ed Hochili was responsible for one in a San Diego game a couple years ago IIRC. And didn’t another official from a Bears game have his house vandalized and his life threatened for blowing a call ? There were many other examples.

    In playoff games too. Lets go back to the end of the 2006 AFC Championship, Pats against Colts. Colts coming back from a huge deficit and in their final drive Ellis Hobbs was called for
    “face blocking” and the Colts were given the ball inside the 10 yard line picking up something like 50 yards on the call and essentially handing them the game.

    Only problem was “face blocking” had been eliminated as a penalty a couple years before that. If there is no contact face blocking was no longer a penalty, if there was contact it became a PI call. Replay clearly showed Hobbs making no contact with the Colts receiver.

    Now I don’t blame the officials for costing the Pats the game, they never should have allowed the Colts to come back from 4 TDs down or whatever it was. But the officials made a massive mistake which may well have led to a Colts victory instead of a loss.

    So please, don’t act like we all haven’t been horrified by repeated incredibly bad and blown calls by the regular officials the last few years. Stop acting like they are really that good because their own record says they are just not great at their jobs.

  11. txbossman says: Aug 28, 2012 8:47 PM

    Bull.

    The players aren’t going to strike.

    They don’t care any more than anyone else does about the replacement refs.

    I wonder what is going to be said when the next, absolutely outrageously bad call is made by the “real” refs?

    I wonder how the players will feel when they get screwed out of a win by a bad call? Oh yeah! They already KNOW!

  12. floridaboy619 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:47 PM

    This is obnoxious, both sides need to grow up and both give a little to get this thing done. Neither side is going to come out the ultimate winner. Just find a middle ground and get it done already!

  13. eagleswin says: Aug 28, 2012 8:48 PM

    Smith identified three “fundamental facts that are inescapable” in support of his views: “One, the players and the league have made tremendous strides in trying to make the game safer over the last three years.

    ——————————-

    The NFL has made strides, the NFLPA not so much. The players resist and complain about any rule changes made for their safety. The NFLPA refuses to support the NFL in requiring the latest concussion resistant helmets, leg pads, etc. How’s that HGH testing coming? That’s right, the NFLPA want’s a population study first that no doctor will sully their reputation by participating in.

    One could legitimately say that any strides in making the game safer have been made in spite of the NFLPA.

  14. rungame8732 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:50 PM

    Let’s see how it plays out

  15. ProDolphinsTalk says: Aug 28, 2012 8:51 PM

    If they do come back 2/3 of them will pull a hammy in the first game… This is a mess. The NFL is a big fat negative headline machine under Roger Goodell.

  16. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Aug 28, 2012 8:51 PM

    It’s funny reading the real refs comments on the performance of the replacement refs. Don’t they know their comments are almost exactly the same as what we say about their performance every week?

  17. wayupsouth says: Aug 28, 2012 8:51 PM

    Deion thinks this is a shebacle

  18. jutts says: Aug 28, 2012 8:52 PM

    Godell is nothing more than a spokesman for the owners. They don’t want to chip in that $100.000 each to solve the issue . Player saftey my ass. all these greedy bastards care about is their freaking bottom line… Just wait untill one of their star players gets punked by a bad call costing an “Owner” a win. Tell me that aint worth 100 g’s. JUST PLAIN STUPID.

  19. dennisatunity says: Aug 28, 2012 8:53 PM

    If it is a safety issue, show me the data. I want to see facts that more players have been hurt this preseason than other preseasons before I believe these refs represent a safety issue.

  20. anarchopurplism says: Aug 28, 2012 8:54 PM

    DeDouche is a tool. “Doesn’t rule out a strike….” how about you not rule out the Martians taking over the Earth? What purpose do his comments serve….. NOBODY THINKS YOU WILL STRKKE so why not try a different tune than to be adverse to every single position the NFL has.

    And this greedy bastard has the audacity to say that the NFL is all about the money. That’s your domain

    It’s only matter of time before the players Tire of DeDouche’s tactics. Vote him out already

  21. kremis says: Aug 28, 2012 8:56 PM

    My dad taught me you don’t blame the refs when you lose. Instead you play better than the other team to win the game because there will always be missed calls during the course of the game. Let the refs sit all year. It amazes me that these well paid (part time refs) want to squeeze more out of the successful owners. why don’t they create their own success?
    They are paid way to much already

  22. geo1113 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:57 PM

    Obviously, one would want the most experienced ref. However, as the weeks have passed I notice the replacement ref less and less. As for safety, I don’t know why it would be so hard to spot a concussion.

  23. packhawk04 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:57 PM

    “one bad call in week one could, in a roundabout way, keep someone out of the playoffs.”

    I laugh every time someone says this like it’s never happened before. These replacement refs are no worse than the regular refs. They’re just much more under the microscope.The game announcers talking about it are even funnier. They as well act like the regular refs never miss a pass interference call. Theres multiple calls missed every game, just like now.

  24. ketch20too says: Aug 28, 2012 8:57 PM

    BS coming from De?!?! Players fight tooth and nail to prevent almost every change designed to increase their safety..now De wants to stand on player safety concerns? Absurd on the face of it

  25. geo1113 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:58 PM

    skoobyfl says:
    Aug 28, 2012 8:41 PM
    Player’s defending the refs, lol.

    ——————–

    Not quite correct. This is union defending union.

  26. rockthered1286 says: Aug 28, 2012 8:58 PM

    DS is just a total friggin moron. I’m pretty sure even he is aware of this.

    Fact: no strike will occur.
    Fact: refs will be back
    Fact: everyone will complain and say “why the hell are we paying these guys so much when they suck as much as the replacements?”

    Also an FYI- NFL offered to DOUBLE refs salaries over a 5 year span of increases. Avg ref in 2017 would see $160k. And they said no way. Shameful.

  27. waldoampere says: Aug 28, 2012 9:01 PM

    I can’t even remotely imagine that players will give up regular season game checks for the officials. They weren’t even willing to do it last year for themselves.

  28. truthfactory says: Aug 28, 2012 9:02 PM

    How do replacement officials jeopordize player safety?? Were the regular officials jumping in harms way of a helmet to helmet hit??? It doesn’t matter. The penalties are not what deter the players, it’s the $50K-$100K fines that they hate, and neither sets of refs have anything to do with that.

    And don’t pull the b.s. that the other refs were “trained” to spot concussion symptoms. There was a limited pre-season last year, and if the NFL was able to prepare them what to watch for in a short amount of time, there’s nothing from stopping them from preparing the replacement officials what to watch for in that same period of time.

    Both sets of officials do- and will get calls wrong, and there are/ will be injuries with either officiating crew. Would I prefer the regular officials, sure… but they were getting paid $8,000 to work 3 hours per weekend ($128,000 to ref 16 regular season games). Not a bad gig… most of us would say quit your complainin and get back to work… if you don’t like it, then they’ll find someone else

  29. baddegg says: Aug 28, 2012 9:02 PM

    I am so weary of these labor disputes. What a dysfunctional family the NFL is. If the NFLPA strikes, I fear they will drive fans away for a good long time, this time…

  30. FinFan68 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:07 PM

    OK. This is absurd and is simple chest thumping and posturing by De Smith.

    1) The refs have very little impact on safety. A thrown flag does not erase a concussion or a blown knee from an illegal hit. The main exception would be the ability to stop the plays via whistles.

    2) Refs do not pose a threat to player safety…other players do through legal play or unintentional and/or intentional deviation of the rules during play. The officials cannot prevent it.

    3) If the NFLPA wants to talk about partnerships and how they and the league have worked together to make the game safer (yeah, right. they fight tooth and nail over EVERY change) then why don’t they step up and pay the difference? The players are claiming the game is unsafe without the old refs but they are doing nothing to help the situation other than fighting the league on another front.

    4) Why doesn’t the NFLPA pressure the NFLRA to accept some of the league’s proposals (like additional ref teams for when poor performance might jeopardize player safety)?

    This posturing is nothing more than an us vs. them mentality and has nothing to do with making the game better.

  31. electstat says: Aug 28, 2012 9:12 PM

    Cause refs jump in front of a player that is launching with his helmet to protect the receiver.

  32. holdthemayo123 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:12 PM

    I really don’t buy this “player safety” argument. Isn’t it just as likely that an inexperienced ref will call too many personal fouls as not enough?

  33. chief0727 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:12 PM

    Hmmm..maybe De Smith should just butt out and let the Referee’s Union president speak to the issues between HIS union and the NFL. De Smith is a D Bag !

  34. vikescry1 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:12 PM

    why would they leave the game in critical moments to ref’s they normally wouldn’t hire? well they never fire or disciplined the ref’s they did have right? so how would the temporary ref’s get that opportunity? imo i like the temporary ref’s, they aren’t perfect that’s for sure. but i think we all can remember at least a few calls the the lockout ref’s have blown in the last few years. btw de smith is a blow hard.

  35. jcbadger34 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:13 PM

    Could someone point out to me all these injuries in the pre-season that the real refs would have prevented? Anyone? Bueller?

    If anything, watching this preseason has led me to believe the replacement refs are MORE likely to call personal fouls because they aren’t as good at telling a helmet-to-helmet hit from a helmet-to-shoulder hit. Wouldn’t that actually mean LESS injuries, since the defenders would be more wary of laying down huge hits?

    This “safety” aspect of the refs’ argument is pure baloney. No one is going to get hurt because of the difference in refs. Just stick to the TRUE argument – the real refs are better at their job than the replacements.

  36. deadeye says: Aug 28, 2012 9:13 PM

    De Smith, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP go ahead and get the players to strike over this.

    It will be the most hilariously entertaining maneuver in the your storied career, and that is really saying something.

  37. cliffordc05 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:14 PM

    There will have been four preseason games played before the start of the season. If there has been an increased number of injuries this preseason then the players can make a case that the use of replacement officials presents a health risk. If there has not been an increase in the number of injuries during this preseason then they will have a tough time convincing anyone that a work stoppage is about safety.

    If the NFLPA was concerned about safety then they would not have permitted their members to participate in the first preseason game until the league reached agreement with the officials. It was also the point where the players had the most leverage. The players don’ t start drawing their salary until the first week of the regular season. The revenue from preseason games is just as real for the owners as the revenue from regular season games.

  38. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Aug 28, 2012 9:15 PM

    Is this the same union rep who blasted the league’s efforts to improve safety/reduce player injury by require leg pads?

    No, couldn’t be!

  39. vikescry1 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:17 PM

    one other thing about De smith, he’s seems more interested about the safety of the players now than he did during the bounty scandal? just saying…

  40. poopystinkypants says: Aug 28, 2012 9:18 PM

    Thanks for a well written post. Wish the rest were this good.

  41. mjkelly77 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:19 PM

    Maurice Smith actually said in his best Jackie Chiles voice:
    “It’s gonna be a problem for them. This a clear violation of your rights as a consumer. It’s an infringement on your constitutional rights. It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous.”

  42. drunkenagitator says: Aug 28, 2012 9:23 PM

    Either pay them or seriously begin looking into doing it all electronically. If a “replacement” ref ends up blowing a big call (and it’ll happen) we’ll never hear the end of it. Surprised the NFL is stubborn enough to cheap-out on something that could call the integrity of games into question.

  43. beerbudsnbevo says: Aug 28, 2012 9:24 PM

    Replacement officials?

    I can almost hear USC fans blaming the replacement refs already…

    Oh wait, I meant Detroit fans…

  44. mjkelly77 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:29 PM

    “The only conclusion that I have,” Smith said, “is that the league cares more about money than it does about the experience of the referees as a vehicle to increase player safety.”
    __________________

    I find that ironic since money is exactly what Maurice Smith cares most about. He sold out the players by sacrificing their long term opportunities for some short term cash, all in an efort to get re-appointed as head of the NFLPA. The guy is an unethical, ineffective, selfish a$$ clown.

  45. FinFan68 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:31 PM

    I don’t even think preseason injury data would matter. The league could easily say that any increase in injuries is likely caused by the decrease in real practice time.

  46. jaxisgreat says: Aug 28, 2012 9:32 PM

    Eighty percent of the NFL players could not afford to miss a game check. My neighbor in Atlanta was an agent for 8 NFL players. Most of them were broke by the start of the season. Most agents main job is to loan their players money over the summer. No MO 4 MOJO! Or as we all call him in Jagsonville…MJWho!

  47. cwwgk says: Aug 28, 2012 9:34 PM

    For a guy screaming into every microphone he can find about the need for evidence, Mr. Smith seems to feel objective facts aren’t necessary to validate his positions. He suggests that the players may strike over safety issues. But then only points to the fact that the difference between the regular and replacement refs will be seen in the outcome of games.

    How about some objective evidence to establish a causal connection between a decrease in player safety and the replacement officials?

    How about addressing the financial exposure the players would face for the league’s lost revenue if the players were to strike? There’s not a player in the league who could satisfy that type of money judgment. Yet, the leader of their union is raising it as a very real possibility.

    When are the players going to wake up? Goodell and the league must be hoping Smith remains the head of the NFLPA for years to come. He’s all style, little substance and certainly no match for Goodell and the owners.

  48. archetypeobscure says: Aug 28, 2012 9:34 PM

    How exactly do refs effect player safety? Players, coaching staffs, and rules effect player safety. Refs only enforce the rules. They may make bad calls or look too small for the moment when the camera is on them, but the refs aren’t effecting player safety. Once again, I fall on the side that De Smith isn’t. In the case of big evil corporations vs puppies and kittens, if De Smith is defending the latter, I’m with the corporations. Sick of this dude.

  49. justwinbaby29 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:35 PM

    The NFLPA won’t strike. The NFLPA would suffer huge damages in court for violating the CBA and the owners would never forget. Beyond that they aren’t missing a dime for any officials. If he tried to organize a strike maybe 10 loony guys out of 1700 stand with him. Smith is a complete joke.

    I expect the regular officials to be back after the first blown call that costs a team a real game – hopefully sooner.

  50. peytonneck18 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:35 PM

    DE Smith, master negotiator.

    PS Andrew Luck’s beard was awesome. He should grow it back.

  51. ballboy48 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:36 PM

    Seriously already! If the NFL wants to cast more fans away from the game, and stadiums, just keep doing what you’re doing. People are sick of hearing about all the labor issues the past few years!

  52. garyman1 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:39 PM

    As Bill Murray said in Caddyshack “I have to laugh”…. The players aren’t going to strike and give up THEIR paychecks. No way.

    With that said, I’m getting sick of this crap the last few years. When they finally do get it done, it better be about a 200 year contract.

  53. geniusfan says: Aug 28, 2012 9:44 PM

    Bill Leavy blew Super Bowl XL, that’s a fact for you Demaurice Smith.

    This is nothing but a union supporting another union. There is a 0% chance of the players striking.

  54. moth25 says: Aug 28, 2012 9:57 PM

    “In America it is the employer’s obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible,”

    So that means you and your union won’t be opposing increased pads, better helmets, punishments for illegal/unsafe hits, etc. then right De? Oh, I guess it’s the union’s responsibility to WANT as safe a working environment as possible too, isn’t it?

  55. sactogary says: Aug 28, 2012 10:20 PM

    cliffordc05 says:
    Aug 28, 2012 9:14 PM
    There will have been four preseason games played before the start of the season. If there has been an increased number of injuries this preseason then the players can make a case that the use of replacement officials presents a health risk….
    ————————————————
    Maybe. Then again, perhaps the sissification of training camp under the new CBA contributes to the players not being ready for the real hitting in games.

  56. LoCoSu@%s says: Aug 28, 2012 10:29 PM

    Grandstanding by Mo. He can not do anything and he knows it.
    However, I think the league and the refs need to come to an agreement immediately.

    That being said, by this time, the fans should realize the league and the refs dont give a 4th and inches about the fans. The next time those hypocrites talk about doing something “for the fans”, find a paper bag, heave into it and mail it to the NFL offices.

  57. mattolikesthevikes says: Aug 28, 2012 10:40 PM

    Go figure. I just bought tickets for the opener. FML.

  58. upperdecker19 says: Aug 28, 2012 10:59 PM

    De doesn’t “dig” scab refs

  59. seeptermean says: Aug 28, 2012 11:00 PM

    “We’ve been very public in saying that we believe on a scale of 1-10 the use of replacement referees in the preseason is a 12,” Smith said. “That goes up to a 16 now that you’re entering into the regular season.”
    —————————————-
    What does this even mean? I can’t stand it when people say on a scale of 1-10 and then give a number above 10 or below 1, anyone who does that should be shot in the face. Same goes for people who say anything above 100% when referring to giving their all (e.g. I’ll give it my 500% effort).

    Stop talking like morons!

  60. canesfan56 says: Aug 28, 2012 11:01 PM

    Remember when Reagan fired all of the aircraft controllers? Seems like we got along fine with their replacements doesn’t it?

  61. briang123 says: Aug 28, 2012 11:10 PM

    He’s just trying to set up the next round of lawsuits since today’s players can’t reasonably claim they weren’t warned about concussions. He’s gonna act like every injury was caused by having replacement refs because we all know the league was injury-free before.

  62. bigblions81golions says: Aug 28, 2012 11:10 PM

    $160k a year!….as an NFL ref!

    Damn! I’m chose the worng job!

  63. bigjdve says: Aug 28, 2012 11:24 PM

    Something that I think people realize is that I don’t think that this is all about the money.

    Something that the Refs are holding out on is a review system on their performance after each game so that the lesser refs can be canned.

    They want to complain about the replacements and the mistakes that they are making, however they (refs) don’t want to be rated themselves.

    This is in my mind part of the problem as well.

    Also, why would the players want to wade in to the Ref’s lockout when they effectively lost theirs? What do they stand to gain? Not much. I wonder when the players will get tired of De Smith just posturing like he knows something? I would love to know when they plan on firing him.

  64. FinFan68 says: Aug 28, 2012 11:30 PM

    “We’ve been very public in saying that we believe on a scale of 1-10 the use of replacement referees in the preseason is a 12,” Smith said. “That goes up to a 16 now that you’re entering into the regular season.”
    —————————————-
    What does this even mean? I can’t stand it when people say on a scale of 1-10 and then give a number above 10 or below 1, anyone who does that should be shot in the face. Same goes for people who say anything above 100% when referring to giving their all (e.g. I’ll give it my 500% effort).

    Stop talking like morons!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    He also doesn’t seem to realize on a typical scale of 1-10, 1 is bad and 10 is good. He’s all rhetoric and cliches like many chest-thumpers and most don’t even know the meaning of what the heck they are saying.

  65. vman0626 says: Aug 28, 2012 11:33 PM

    listen, you all are entitled to your opinions, and aside from the numerous jackazzes posting on here i respect those opines. but the fact remains this game is played at an incredibly fast pace. i don’t mean to talk down to anyone but i’ve coached football all my life and been a guest on the sidelines of nfl games many times. once the season begins the pace really heats up for every play as the starters are in the entire 60 minutes. the league has clearly instructed these refs to avoid calling as much as possible, hence the few flags thrown each game. these refs have been awful. simply awful. few of them are even good high school refs. this is a disaster waiting to happen. these refs will NEVER ‘catch up to speed’. they aren’t even low level college refs.

  66. rbriantaylor says: Aug 28, 2012 11:39 PM

    employer’s obligation to provide as safe a working environment”? I though that the NFLPA and the NFL were “partners”.

  67. nflfollower says: Aug 28, 2012 11:41 PM

    Ha the players won’t strike and sacrifice their paychecks. That’s laughable.

  68. glazerh8er says: Aug 28, 2012 11:54 PM

    I wonder if D-Maurice Smith can also notarize some documents for me. He seems to be an excellent attorney.

  69. bobnelsonjr says: Aug 29, 2012 12:03 AM

    NFLPA will do nothing as usual.

    They will not support another union, they will not offer to help reach an agreement, they will not even communicate with its membership regarding the situation, they will not participate in anything.

    Yet once an agreement is made, they will complain about it.

    They have abdicated any relevance by continually refusing to participate in anything regarding its members.

    The NFLPA only exists because the owners want them to exist.

    The NFLPA can’t even find two feet to stand upon.

  70. whodey33ds says: Aug 29, 2012 12:32 AM

    About time !!! The Gm will be hurt if they don’t get back real officials .. Tellin ya !! C’mon Roger !! What is nfl thinking ?? Over a lil amount of cash , they can afford it , it will be the worst EVer officiating in the nfl if they go w the replacement s and it will be hot topic of the yr .. Mark my words

  71. 1phd says: Aug 29, 2012 12:38 AM

    I’d pay good money to see D take some of the wankers in this comment section out in the back and beat their anonymous tough guy asses. Big bad guys of the comment section and about 12 years old in their minds.

  72. scrotiemcb says: Aug 29, 2012 12:46 AM

    I’m pretty sure The League recognizes one undistubitable fact: the regulars compromise the worst officials in Pro sports. Some crews are painfully awful and inept. Some are pretty good. But the reality is that games are ruined, players are hurt, and there are some seriously weak links in the current cast of characters.

    If the NFL is willing to trade a little short term discomfort for long term gain, I’m all for that.

  73. maximus929 says: Aug 29, 2012 12:57 AM

    This guy makes me pine for Gene Upshaw.

  74. scytherius says: Aug 29, 2012 1:03 AM

    I hope they do. They will lose money, but with replacement refs they will loose careers.

  75. mojosmagic says: Aug 29, 2012 1:08 AM

    I want it settled to and agree it should be worked out. De Smith continues to over step his bounds and I believe he has been a disaster for the players. He negotiated a horrible CBA agreement followed by spending player’s union money on frivolous lawsuits that conveniently benefit his crony’s law firms. Wouldn’t surprise me if Smith is getting kick backs.

  76. msclemons67 says: Aug 29, 2012 2:06 AM

    The NFLPA caved and accepted a bad deal as soon as game checks were threatened. No way they honor the refs picket line.

  77. piemasteruk says: Aug 29, 2012 4:42 AM

    “We’ve been very public in saying that we believe on a scale of 1-10 the use of replacement referees in the preseason is a 12,” Smith said. “That goes up to a 16 now that you’re entering into the regular season.”

    Wut? What the hell does this even mean? This is the kind of sloppy hyperbole that my 16 year old cousin uses on Facebook, not the kind of language you expect from someone who used to be a lawyer and is now in a high profile position representing hundreds of superstars.

  78. lehooper says: Aug 29, 2012 5:15 AM

    DE Smith is a joke. His players need every paycheck they can get.

  79. ordinaryday6 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:31 AM

    All of you who are ripping him and disagreeing: you are being short-sighted.

  80. youarewrongandthisiswhy says: Aug 29, 2012 7:04 AM

    Workplace safety…like the players are 11 year olds working in an early 20th century textile.

    Maurice is channeling his inner Jackie Chiles on this one.

  81. bobbyhoying says: Aug 29, 2012 7:32 AM

    I continue to wonder if this has to do with some refs being influenced by gambling interests? Maybe the league doesn’t want all these guys back. What are the odds no ref ever was paid to manage the point spread of a game?

  82. otis52gsh says: Aug 29, 2012 7:50 AM

    This guy us such a joke. When will the players figure this out?

  83. wikipediasaidso says: Aug 29, 2012 7:50 AM

    Could someone point out to me all these injuries in the pre-season that the real refs would have prevented? Anyone? Bueller?
    =========

    No, not exactly. I think the one argument I’d agree with is that players might be trying to get away with more small stuff — receivers picking off defenders, holding on the line, more jostling between receivers/defenders, defenders trying to get in an extra shot while on the pile — because those kinds of things seemed to be missed more often with the replacement refs, so far.

    But I haven’t seen a rash of injuries on those kinds of “no flag” plays either.

  84. mick5430 says: Aug 29, 2012 9:02 AM

    Seeing people in this thread come down on Smith’s comments shows you how ignorant most of America has become. He is absolutely right. How could he be wrong?

    The preseason was a joke with how bad the officiating was and if they are missing obvious calls, players use that to get even more flagrant in their actions on the field. This leads to more injuries. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    Give Ray Lewis or James Harrison an inch and they will take someone’s head off. Its great when the missed calls go for your team, but if your team’s QB gets knocked out for the season because of it, all of you will be crying about that too. Some people hate just to hate.

  85. ernie ernie says: Aug 29, 2012 9:24 AM

    Typical union BS. Of course the refs won’t try and settle now and will go entrenched thinking that the very scare of the players holding out will get them the deal they want.

    I would caution Mr Smith, watch what you wish for. If the players hold out and the season starts later than planned, a lot of fans will be turned off knowing that were no longer enjoying football but watching union guys on grass complaining and bitching. I can get that from my wife when I’m doing the lawn.

    I can tell the players one thing, your not getting those pay checks for games not played and the league cannot extend the season so you do, so put up or shut up.

  86. billh1947 says: Aug 29, 2012 9:31 AM

    What would happen if the replacement refs decided to side with the real nfl refs and just quit their temporary on field jobs in support,surely as college refs they have contracts with the ncaa and know what the others are going through and why.the NFL has more than enough money to pay them what they are seeking so just end this nonsence and get them back where they belong.

  87. neelsk2 says: Aug 29, 2012 11:00 AM

    So Mr. Smith is concerned that the replacement refs will decrease player safety. Hmm. Maybe he should talk to the players about the hits they are giving each other. I like the earlier comment about Ray Lewis taking a mile if you give him an inch. If that’s true it would seem that he isn’t too concerned about his fellow plaurr’s safety.

  88. bobzilla1001 says: Sep 1, 2012 5:13 PM

    Can someone please explain to me how there can be a CBA when each NFL player agrees to a PERSONAL contract?
    All REAL unions represent and fight for their members by making sure there is equal pay for equal duties.
    How in the world can a Tom Brady be paid mega more than, say, a Carson Palmer? Both are starting QBs in the National Football League for their respective teams, which should mean, under a REAL union agreement, each would be paid the same annual salary for providing the same services, regardless of their respective skill sets.
    Everytime I see a word mentioned about the NFLPA, I have to laugh.

  89. bikelikemike says: Sep 4, 2012 10:49 AM

    jutts says: Aug 28, 2012 8:52 PM

    Godell is nothing more than a spokesman for the owners. They don’t want to chip in that $100.000 each to solve the issue . Player saftey my ass. all these greedy bastards care about is their freaking bottom line… Just wait untill one of their star players gets punked by a bad call costing an “Owner” a win. Tell me that aint worth 100 g’s. JUST PLAIN STUPID.
    ——————
    YOU’re talking about STUPID????? The owners could rectify this thing by paying out 3,200. bucks? Really?? wow. … You blame the owners for the already overpaid refs getting more and more greedy?? You must be a dumb liberal. Oops! Sorry for the redundancy there. Ya know; some people doing very well has NOTHING to do with others doing less well. Rich people being rich does NOT make less rich people less rich!! Most rich people worked their asses off to get where they are, and are extremely intelligent in one way or another, or just have a special gift. Isn’t that great?? Is this a great country, or what?? .. NO?? .. You’re obviously drunk from the kool-aid the socialists are shoving at you. And like a mental midget you’re buying into the class envy/ warfare they are only using/ promoting for their ends; to use you empty heads as their tool. Stop being JUST PLAIN STUPID.

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