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NFL.com story on Week One officiating memo disappears (and reappears)

350x-4 AP

In a move that calls into question the independence of the league-owned media conglomerate known generally as “NFL Media,” a key story regarding the ongoing officiating lockout has been removed from the NFL.com website — and a reference to that story has been scrubbed from a related article.

On Sunday, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported on the existence an internal officiating memo for Week One that, among other things, slammed the door on the practice of replacement officials working for individual teams during midweek practices.  A source with no connection to the NFL or NFL.com or NFL Media pointed out to PFT on Monday that the story no longer appears on the NFL.com website.  (The link redirects to a page with links to news items.)

The NFL has not yet responded to our request for comment.  In the interim, however, we noticed that a reference (and link) to the officiating memo in the separate story from Breer regarding the official in the Seahawks-Cardinals game with Seahawks ties has been removed.

In the past, we’ve made casual reference to the reality that NFL.com and NFL Network necessarily operate within an inherent conflict of interest because those media companies primarily if not exclusively cover the very entity that owns them.  This is the first tangible example (that we’ve noticed) of the NFL possibly censoring the content on NFL.com or NFL Network.

UPDATE 3:29 p.m. ET:  The link has now been resurrected; however, the reference to it from the Seahawks-Cardinals story has not been replaced.  Said NFL Network spokesman Alex Riethmiller, “Not sure what the issue was previously, but the link to the page you are referring to on NFL.com is working.”  We’ve specifically asked for more details on “what the issue was previously.”

UPDATE 3:35 p.m. ET:  “It was never taken down,” Riethmiller said in a followup email.  “As the page went from our homepage and headlines to the news pages and now to Breer’s archive page, all the while being edited the way all news stories are, the link could have hit some tech hurdles on this end.”  We’ve specifically asked for more details on why reference to it was removed from the Seahawks-Cardinals story.

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16 Responses to “NFL.com story on Week One officiating memo disappears (and reappears)”
  1. f00sballfan says: Sep 17, 2012 2:55 PM

    Move along, folks. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Pay no attention to the ego-maniac behind the NFL shield…

  2. redskinpotatoes says: Sep 17, 2012 2:57 PM

    In Russia, TV watches you.

  3. sdisme says: Sep 17, 2012 2:58 PM

    No different than quotes being changed in a Michael Lombardi story regarding Goodell persuading Vick to play for the Eagles over the Bengals or Bills.

    I’ll never forget that one.

  4. bfl8 says: Sep 17, 2012 2:59 PM

    Is this really news? The NFL Network is owned/operated by the NFL. I don’t think that is a surprise to anyone. And they can put whatever they want on their own network to drive ratings (Cowboys, Jets aka Tebow…) or take down anything that might hurt their brand. Just look for Albert Breer to be reporting from London after Goodell is done with him.

  5. nupicasso says: Sep 17, 2012 3:01 PM

    How long before the NFL strong arms NBC to remove this article!?!?

  6. dylude says: Sep 17, 2012 3:01 PM

    Disgraceful. Disgusting. But predictable.

  7. amoses74 says: Sep 17, 2012 3:02 PM

    these replacement officials are horrible. I have a feeling there will be some not so friendly calls to the commish this week from a few owners. Bob Kraft will be one of them. phantom holding calls….. a false start on a field goal when TB clearly just fell for the fake snap count and they played it over and over….nobody moved on the O-Line. then they miss the holding calls all day on both sides of the ball with DBs holding receivers. These refs are way over their heads

  8. honkeyt says: Sep 17, 2012 3:05 PM

    Classic Roger!

  9. justwinbaby29 says: Sep 17, 2012 3:08 PM

    Good to have a watchdog like PFT but let’s not make it some sort of conspiracy.

  10. bfl8 says: Sep 17, 2012 3:11 PM

    Why isn’t ESPN reporting this….they should be all over this…

  11. billfbrennan says: Sep 17, 2012 3:37 PM

    i really wish the writers of the sports world would stand up to goodell and write more about this in a more frowned upon approach. no analyst is saying too much about it yet every single game is under some sort of scrutiny based on botched calls and increased stoppage of tempo flow. too many times all these debacles in the middle of games that now matter are being sugar coated over. its getting ridiculous and writers need to start bringing the attention to it or else this season is going to get an asterisk, and their integrity will come to question. goodell makes sure to loom large over all the faces of the nfl that bring us the game. coaches and nflpa need to stand up and say they wont take the field til the real refs are back.

  12. jwcarlson says: Sep 17, 2012 4:03 PM

    I love how everyone is up-in-arms about a sports article, but when the news the directly relates to their everyday lives people gobble up the censored, biased reporting the media dishes out daily. Sad.

  13. phishead1313 says: Sep 17, 2012 4:38 PM

    And this is just the tip of the iceberg…

  14. honkeyt says: Sep 17, 2012 4:51 PM

    “Why isn’t ESPN reporting this….they should be all over this…”

    Umm…because they would be fools? Do you really think ESPN wants to step on the toes of the NFL?

  15. mojosmagic says: Sep 17, 2012 5:12 PM

    What are we going to do about these awful replacement refs? Three adolescent monkeys on crack would be an upgrade over the bozos the NFL hired. Enough is enough show the regular guys the money.

  16. hawkforlife says: Sep 17, 2012 6:24 PM

    Since our forum names/handles are all anonymous, I wonder how many of these “pay the refs” quotes and how terrible a job the replacement refs are doing posts are written by out-of-work refs.

    Seems like a lot of fuss over nothing.

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