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Locked-out officials say they are ready to negotiate

Seattle Seahawks v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The question of which side in the officiating lockout is responsible for the failure to negotiate is almost as difficult as determining which member of an openly affectionate couple is actually Shmoopie.

The NFL has said that replacement officials will be used for Week One of the regular season, and the locked-out officials have said that it’s not their fault that the two sides aren’t talking.

“It now appears the NFL is willing to forego any attempt to reach a deal in the last seven days before opening night,” the NFL Referees Association said in a statement issued this afternoon.  The NFLRA also accused the NFL of continuing to assume a “take it or leave it” posture.

“It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field,” the NFLRA said.  “Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go.  If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves.”

In a Tuesday appearance on WSCR’s McNeil and Speigel Show, NFL V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson, said of the locked-out officials:  “They have not reached out to us recently and I can tell you I don’t believe we’ve reached out to them so right now we’re at impasse and we are focused on getting our officials ready for Week One, our current officials and they will be out there continuing to improve and do a good job, a very credible job in our opinion.”

The problem continues to be that this dispute lacks any external person with the ability to force the two sides back to the table.  So neither side has any obligation to talk until the other side wants to.  Also, neither side has any duty to abandon its current position.  The NFL has every right to dig in and wait for the officials to blink, and the officials have every right to dig in and wait for the officials to blink.

And if the NFL is prepared to do everything in its power to ensure that the games will be properly officiated, that’s fine with us.  As long as the games are properly officiated.

But come Monday, September 10, saying “the locked-out officials screw up, too” won’t cut it, absent hard proof from the NFL that the inevitable errors committed by the replacements in Week One of the 2012 season match the number of errors made by the locked-out officials in Week One of the 2011 season.

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54 Responses to “Locked-out officials say they are ready to negotiate”
  1. broncosaddict says: Aug 29, 2012 5:07 PM

    “The NFL has every right to dig in and wait for the officials to blink, and the officials have every right to dig in and wait for the officials to blink.”

    So BOTH the NFL and the officials are waiting for the officials to blink…..
    This could explain why so little progress has been made…

  2. pitch87mph says: Aug 29, 2012 5:08 PM

    This whole thing just stinks to high heaven. What’s most puzzling (not that we have any “right” to know–these are private parties with public relations staff’s trying to create their own narrative–how close it is to reality, who really knows?) is the lack of any negotiation. I’ve been involved in negotiations before. And while there are times you reach an impasse, someone eventually figures out an alternative to get through it. Granted–these are HARD CORE individuals on each side with GIANT egos. And I almost wonder if that’s the more salient features as to why this hasn’t got done. There’s no excuse, imho, that a deal hasn’t gotten done–unless we have large egos preventing it. Much like the NFLPA and NFL negotiations, someone needs to kick the attorneys out of the room, and get the officials and the owners together and hash this thing out. This is a failure of leadership on both sides, imho.

  3. bigjdve says: Aug 29, 2012 5:08 PM

    Why would they want to negotiate, the NFLRA is talking about how they are sticking to their guns.
    They are also talking about how bad the replacements are.

    What they aren’t doing is saying that they will agree to a system that will allow them to be judged as harshly as the replacements are so that the league can fire the refs that aren’t good.

    So, the league is of course stating that they aren’t wanting to negotiate because they have cheaper referees that are willing to admit mistakes and try to improve.

    Why would they want more expensive refs, that aren’t willing to do the same?

    If I am the league, just telling me how much better you are, and how what I currently have is so much worse, while not being willing to allow a system for grading, I wouldn’t negotiate either.

  4. salvi18 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:08 PM

    who cares they suck and so do the replacements

  5. zimaman says: Aug 29, 2012 5:10 PM

    Dear Dopie officials,

    “It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field,” the NFLRA said. “Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go. If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves.”

    you are obviously to stupid to understand. now let me translate. the league made you their best offer and you turned it down. now “negotaitions” are over and they have moved on.

    thats called over playing your hand. guess the news – you lose!

  6. txbossman says: Aug 29, 2012 5:10 PM

    Har har har……”Properly officiated”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…….

  7. artvan15 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:13 PM

    Here they come crawling back. I think they are realizing that they are replaceable and no one cares.

  8. phuriousjorge says: Aug 29, 2012 5:15 PM

    Why can’t the NFL just be honest and admit the replacements are not as good? It’s no secret, just makes them look… (insert adjective).

  9. goldrush4949 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:16 PM

    Labor unions suck.

  10. seanb20124 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:17 PM

    A gamble the zebras have lost. See umpires, and air traffic controllers

  11. baltimoresohard says: Aug 29, 2012 5:18 PM

    The fact of the matter is, the refs have to fold, or their replacements, will get better at their craft and take their jobs. The only thing this strike has done is create competition, which the last time I checked, is a good thing in America.

    The NFLRA, is a group of good ole boys, that had a lock on the market. Now, the whole organization is in jeopardy. If the replacements get by week 4, they’re toast.

    The NFL is a consumer, granted a very rich consumer, but why would we wanted anybody to be held hostage by a Monopoly like the NFLRA. The market determines the price, and the NFLRA’s price is too high, so the NFL is picking another product. By October, it will be of similar quality.

  12. raqaiw says: Aug 29, 2012 5:19 PM

    No sympathy for the refs. They want to keep their part-time jobs but with more pay and the same pension,don’t want to hire additional refs because that would jeopardize their status and make them eligible for replacement/demotion if/when they screw up(and they will),and are against using full-time refs because they want to keep their dual incomes. I agree that each person should fight to make as much for themselves as possible,but they have to accept the criticism for being pointed out as the greedy bastiches they are though. They want to appear as the “little guys” being bullied by the “big corporation” but I don’t buy it.

  13. mike83ri says: Aug 29, 2012 5:19 PM

    If my boss offered me a raise, and I said I wanted a bigger one, and my boss said no, and I stamped my feet around complaining that my boss isn’t meeting me half-way, I’d probably find a replacement doing my job too.

  14. heyguru1969 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:19 PM

    I meant absurd, but you get the drift.

  15. dryzzt23 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:20 PM

    This is what happens when unions negotiate, they ask for too much and the NFL called them on it. I wish Roger would pull a Ronald Reagan and fire the officials who are in the union and hire the replacement officials who actually have agreed to work for a reasonable wage.

  16. 18acolt4ever says: Aug 29, 2012 5:22 PM

    This is sickening. Goodell is making 20mil a year for I’ll bet much less work than the officials. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the so called “shield”. Lost even more respect for the ownership for continuing to employ that loser.

  17. nflofficeadmin says: Aug 29, 2012 5:33 PM

    Ref have no leverage.

  18. zambrano38cubs says: Aug 29, 2012 5:34 PM

    Does anybody know exactly what they want?

    I could care less if they’re there or not because they aren’t much better than the replacements (especially Ed Hochuli who is in my mind the worst head official)

    But come on, the NFL cant meet the demands of 100 some referees? It cant be that much money out of the NFL’s pocket

  19. itsmammoth says: Aug 29, 2012 5:36 PM

    My daughters puppy ran away, so I bought her a new one.

    All better.

  20. jetsarestacked says: Aug 29, 2012 5:37 PM

    i hate unions. the officials should be paid based on how good they are. you’re a bad officiating crew? guess what, you make low tier money and risk getting replaced. you’re a good official? you should make more than the rest. that’s how it works in the real world. well, except for teachers who get tenure and dont have to worry about squat regardless if they’re good or not.

  21. prospero63 says: Aug 29, 2012 5:37 PM

    So the part time contract laborers who want a pension paid by someone else are ready to talk a week before the season. Screw ‘em. Invest in new officials and let the old officials find another part time job with half the benefits this one had… Heck, sounds like there’s tons of jobs out there for them. You know, the ones the new officials left behind…

  22. zimaman says: Aug 29, 2012 5:38 PM

    for the life of me I dont understand how anyone can thumbs down my comment above.

    it’s 100% accurate.

    if you side with the officials fine – i have no problem with that. but to thumbs down my comment makes no sense because thats the reality of the situation.

    what are you guys thinking? what did I say that isnt correct? explain it to me if you can?

  23. solidmarine says: Aug 29, 2012 5:43 PM

    18acolt4ever says:Aug 29, 2012 5:22 PM

    This is sickening. Goodell is making 20mil a year for I’ll bet much less work than the officials. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the so called “shield”. Lost even more respect for the ownership for continuing to employ that loser.
    ———————————————————-
    A well-reasoned and thought out response. I’m sure working once a week, for 3 1/2 hours, part-time is much more time consuming and exhaustive than running one of the largest, most successful, multi-billion dollar companies on the planet. Again, well said. Now go vote for Obama again.

  24. truthfactory says: Aug 29, 2012 5:45 PM

    The real officials were making $8,000 to work 3 hours per week. Not a bad gig…. Dont expect a lot of sympathy from the fans.

  25. suhdidntstompanyone says: Aug 29, 2012 5:51 PM

    goldrush4949-labor unions are the reason you have the weekend off of work and the reason you have an expectation of safety in your workplace. These are just a couple of things you can thank labor unions for.
    I would say that I’m surprised by your ignorance but nothing surprises me from a niners fan anymore.

  26. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Aug 29, 2012 6:00 PM

    The replacement officials are better imo. They take a little longer to figure some stuff out, but that should improve with some more experience. The best thing is the replacements don’t call the ticky-tack penalties. These are the penalties that have no real impact on the outcome of a given play. The “real” officials are notorious for taking something like a weak hands to the face on the opposite side of the field from where a play is run and turning it into a drive killing penalty. We aren’t seeing that crap with the replacements and its wonderful.

  27. threedeep1998 says: Aug 29, 2012 6:01 PM

    $8,000 a game to be an official. $8,000 x 17 weeks (regular season alone) = $136,000

    This is a PART TIME job and I bet the NFL hooks up their flights, food, and hotels.

  28. nflfollower says: Aug 29, 2012 6:11 PM

    Baltimoresohard—–you NAILED it. Congratulations.

  29. pkopco says: Aug 29, 2012 6:12 PM

    zimaman says first: you are obviously to stupid to understand. Then: what are you guys thinking? what did I say that isnt correct? explain it to me if you can?
    _______________________________
    Maybe the thumbs-downers have a shred of knowledge about grammar and agree that you are “to stupid” to know that you should have said “too stupid.”

  30. croghan1919 says: Aug 29, 2012 6:48 PM

    I still haven’t read or heard what the sticking point/points is/are.

  31. nomoreseasontix says: Aug 29, 2012 6:55 PM

    The NFL should release a highlight reel of the most idiotic officiating mistakes of the last 10 seasons.
    It’ll be lengthy and funny to watch.
    Then we can see what the officials have to say…

  32. gbilljb says: Aug 29, 2012 6:55 PM

    Upon further review….This is going to suck!!!!

  33. dabkg says: Aug 29, 2012 6:55 PM

    As I have heard it from another party, the actually terms separating the NFLRA and the NFL is not Price. It’s not the salaries the NFLRA has a problem with.

    The NFL is trying to make several changes which the NFLRA do not want to agree to.

    First, the NFL wants to make the top level officials (Such as the Ref, Head Linesman, etc) fulltime yearly employees so they can do training all thru the offseason. However, those top level officials already have high paying jobs and are not willing to part with having 2 paychecks equaling more than 1.

    Second, the NFL wants to make a 2 part change. They want to increase the number of ‘Officials Teams’ and at the same time they want to make each team permanent. Sounds all good right? The only caveat is that if a member of one team is unable to perform for a weekend the league intends to schedule a different team, rather than getting a single replacement. The idea is that each group functions as a team all the time – no substitutes. The NFLRA obviously see all of this as a cut in their bottom line.

    My take on all of this is the idea’s the NFL is trying to rollout are good and will improve the game. Unfortunately because they are dealing with a Union the only way these ideas will ever see the light of day is likely a wholesale changing of the guard. Which could mean taking a few temporary steps back for the first season or two.

    But with new Refs being fulltime and receiving training throughout the offseason I personally believe the replacements would match the quality of the old guard fairly quickly. Then surpass them.

  34. bucfandango says: Aug 29, 2012 6:58 PM

    Condi Rice said she will gladly do Goodell’s job for half his salary.

  35. 8man says: Aug 29, 2012 7:15 PM

    @dabkg

    I’ll admit that I haven’t kept up with it. But if this is all true, I supported the NFL against the players, I’ll take their side in this. Just have instant replay ready for every play. I can live with a five hour game for week one.

    Thanks for the explanation.

  36. fmwarner says: Aug 29, 2012 7:25 PM

    Are you guys really so ignorant that you think the officials only work three hours a week? They may get paid a lot, but they’re professionals with experience that can’t be replicated just because the NFL says so (that much should be obvious from the preseason games.)

    Maybe they should compromise with the NFL, but don’t act like the officials are teenagers with paper routes getting paid thousands of dollars a week. They work for their money.

  37. kairn42 says: Aug 29, 2012 7:27 PM

    Here’s the deal…

    When a player doesn’t like how much/what work they’re doing for the pay they’re getting, when their contract is up, (in the simplest terms…) they can test the free agency market. Well, now the refs can do the same thing. I’m sure with the replacement refs working the NFL, there are a bunch of ref positions open at smaller colleges and probably even the LFL…I’m sure the NFL will give letters of recommendation stating they’re no worse than the refs the NFL are currently using. Also, in no WAY shape or form should the ‘new’ refs be held to any higher standard than the ‘old’ refs were. No one could complain about the old officiating without getting a fine from the League, so the League should keep track of all the complaints made by locked out refs so if they DO manage to work for the NFL again, the NFL can hit them with the appropriate fines for ‘conduct detrimental..’

  38. wludford says: Aug 29, 2012 7:40 PM

    Honestly, for the amount of money at stake here, this should not have gone this far.

    I hope the Giants beat the Cowboys on a totally blown call (or calls) by refs whose last officiating job was in the Lingerie League. Poetic justice for Jerry Jones to end up with a Texas sized cowboy boot in his mouth.

  39. pacodawg says: Aug 29, 2012 7:43 PM

    In this economy, no one has any leverage against management.

  40. phillyforlife says: Aug 29, 2012 7:48 PM

    Really who cares come 9-10-12 weather or weather not there is a blown call on Sunday I will get up go to work and come home that evening. See my life and no one other than the ref’s and possable the player will go on unaffected in any way.

  41. ocdn says: Aug 29, 2012 7:53 PM

    Don’t give into the corporate machine!

  42. 18acolt4ever says: Aug 29, 2012 8:11 PM

    solidmarine says:
    Aug 29, 2012 5:43 PM
    18acolt4ever says:Aug 29, 2012 5:22 PM

    This is sickening. Goodell is making 20mil a year for I’ll bet much less work than the officials. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the so called “shield”. Lost even more respect for the ownership for continuing to employ that loser.
    ———————————————————-
    A well-reasoned and thought out response. I’m sure working once a week, for 3 1/2 hours, part-time is much more time consuming and exhaustive than running one of the largest, most successful, multi-billion dollar companies on the planet. Again, well said. Now go vote for Obama again.

     —————————————–
    To be honest, it didn’t take much thought to see the obvious. People in Goodell’s position hire people to do the brunt of the work. Then they, or in this case, he sits at his desk and watches games and decides who gets what fine and suspension.

    I’m sure at one point Goodell worked hard to get where he is. But when you get so high up the ladder and you allow your ego to out grow your common sense, you start losing touch with why you are in that position in the first place. That isn’t opinion my friend, that is a fact. Take a look at history and some of the faults some of these CEO’s have. The majority of the time, their down fall starts because they made a choice and refused to back off of it once it went south.

    True, the refs are part timers. But they are right down there in the trenches with the players in the heat, in the rain and in the snow. I’m not trying to disrespect Goodell’s position, just saying I think he has mishandled several cases and he is too bull headed to admit it.

    I’m a die hard Colts fan, but the way he has handled the Saints situation is disgraceful. There is no reason to with hold evidence from the accused. If they are guilty, show them that and move on. Don’t just with hold it simply because you can.

    And your Obama comment has no place here, and I found it fairly insulting.

    Goodell needs to understand his way is not always the only way and at times far from the right way.

  43. mezanine10 says: Aug 29, 2012 8:20 PM

    If regular refs are pretty bad already.

    If we went into the season with replacement refs, and nobody knew about it, would anyone really notice?

  44. classygentleman7 says: Aug 29, 2012 8:39 PM

    Just like politicians. Each side is too busy blaming the other side for problems instead of actually getting together and trying to work them out.

    Quit acting like children, put on your big boy pants, and hammer this thing out.

  45. whateverhommie says: Aug 29, 2012 8:45 PM

    League SHOULD make a deal NOW! These scab refs are ridiculous! Longer games because of confusion, mistakes, stuttering, stammering, inarticulate explanations, not explaining calls to coaches, initiating BACK-TO-BACK official’s instant replays before a single snap is made, not knowing how to spot the ball…the list goes on.

  46. johninthewest says: Aug 29, 2012 8:54 PM

    I would ref for free! Get my point??

  47. mjkelly77 says: Aug 29, 2012 9:25 PM

    Locked-out officials say they are ready to negotiate
    ___________

    The NFL says … uh, OK. we retract our initial offer and will take you back at the old compensation level. Except, the lifetime pension goes away and is replaced by a 401(k). If you don’t like it, stay home and work your real jobs.

    These fat. greedy part-timers must be tired of fielding questions about their work status back at their country clubs.

  48. mjkelly77 says: Aug 29, 2012 9:26 PM

    whateverhommie says:Aug 29, 2012 8:45 PM

    League SHOULD make a deal NOW! These scab refs are ridiculous! Longer games because of confusion, mistakes, stuttering, stammering, inarticulate explanations, not explaining calls to coaches, initiating BACK-TO-BACK official’s instant replays before a single snap is made, not knowing how to spot the ball…the list goes on.
    ________________

    I guess you’re the loser that blinks first at the negotiating table.

  49. mjkelly77 says: Aug 29, 2012 9:31 PM

    “It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field,” the NFLRA said. “Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go. If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves.”
    ________________

    Then just ink the NFL’s offer. It’s already a lot more than you deserve. OR just stay home but please shut up. These fat, greedy part-timers get no sympathy from me.

  50. chatham10 says: Aug 29, 2012 10:40 PM

    The union has to drop the pension part of this contract of which they will never get, the NFL itself has ended the pension program and most major companies have ended the pension program and have gone to 401K’s and I do not know of any company that provides those benefits to Part Time people and that is what these refs are.

  51. kingcarlbanks says: Aug 29, 2012 11:56 PM

    This is a little off topic, but why are the only people who complain about labor unions people who don’t belong to one? Everyone can’t be management..

  52. whateverhommie says: Aug 30, 2012 12:04 AM

    mjkelly77 says:
    Aug 29, 2012 9:25 PM

    The NFL says … uh, OK. we retract our initial offer and will take you back at the old compensation level. Except, the lifetime pension goes away and is replaced by a 401(k). If you don’t like it, stay home and work your real jobs.

    These fat. greedy part-timers must be tired of fielding questions about their work status back at their country clubs.

    I guess you’re the loser that blinks first at the negotiating table.

    ————————————————–

    Actually, these “part-time” refs are part time because they have other jobs apart from the NFL. Kinda hard to be fat, greedy, and spending time at country clubs while working two jobs.

    And what you forget about is this thing called public relations. The NFL is suffering from a PR nightmare with Bountygate lawsuits, past labor dispute with the NFLPA, trying to hide TV revenues from being shared with players, concussion lawsuits, the perception of fans being priced out of going to games, the Super Bowl seating fiasco of 2010, and now with the apparent lack of competence or at least a drop off of incompetence by the replacement refs.

    Close your eyes if you want to. Or better yet, go watch the replay of tonight’s Redskins and Patriots games and tell me you’re comfortable with that.

  53. tdk24 says: Aug 30, 2012 12:25 AM

    Who do they think they are? A bunch of Brett Favre’s? Just skip training camp and the preseason games and hop right in for week 1? C’mon man!

  54. txbossman says: Aug 30, 2012 2:11 AM

    And, the most distressing thing to the officials, is that NOBODY CARES!

    We’re not interesting in your bitching and complaining about being so well paid. You are not key to the game. At ALL.

    You screw up nightly, game by game, but suddenly, want to sharpshoot the guys that are willing to DO the job?

    Sorry. Weak hand. Weak hand.

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