The executive committee of the NFL Players Association has formally asked the league’s owners to end the referee lockout, accusing the owners of greed for keeping the best refs off the field.
In a letter sent to the owners last week and posted on the NFLPA’s website today, the players’ union questions why the owners are telling Commissioner Roger Goodell to squeeze the best deal he can out of the refs, instead of getting the best refs he can on the field.
“It is lost on us as to how you allow a Commissioner to cavalierly issue suspensions and fines in the name of player health and safety yet permit the wholesale removal of the officials that you trained and entrusted to maintain that very health and safety,” the letter states. “It has been reported that the two sides are apart by approximately $60,000 per team. We note that your Commissioner has fined an individual player as much in the name of ‘safety.’ Your actions are looking more and more like simple greed. As players, we see this game as more than the “product” you reference at times. You cannot simply switch to a group of cheaper officials and fulfill your legal, moral, and duty obligations to us and our fans. You need to end the lockout and bring back the officials immediately.”
The letter is signed by the members of the NFLPA’s executive committee: Domonique Foxworth, Charlie Batch, Cornelius Bennett, Drew Brees, Brian Dawkins, Scott Fujita, Matt Hasselbeck, Brandon Moore, Jeff Saturday, Mickey Washington, Brian Waters and Benjamin Watson. At a time when players like Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers have publicly decried the subpar work of the replacement refs, it’s not surprising that their union is formally asking the owners to ditch the replacements and bring back the regular refs.
So far, there are no indications that the owners are listening to what the players think.