Browns linebacker Scott Fujita is currently embroiled in a dispute with the league over whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will suspend him for three games for involvement in bounties when Fujita played for the Saints. But that’s not the only beef Fujita has with the league office.
When asked about the lockout of the referees, Fujita first sounded like he was going to avoid the subject, saying, “I have my own battles.” But then Fujita weighed in anyway.
“It’s a joke. What the league is doing, it’s a joke,” Fujita told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Look, missed calls and bad calls are going to happen. We’re all going to have to deal with that. But major procedural errors, not understanding the rules — that’s a huge problem.”
Fujita was one of several players in the Browns’ locker room who vented about the officials on Tuesday. Browns receiver Josh Cribbs noted that the NFL holds the players to high standards but doesn’t seem to have the same standards for the officials.
“It makes me angry because we’re asked to do so much — pull our socks up, can’t wear this, gotta do this,” Cribbs said. “I mean, there are so many rules we have to be upheld to. And who upholds the rules for them? Who holds the NFL accountable? . . . Who holds the NFL accountable to maintain the integrity of the game?”
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said he finds the mistakes frustrating.
“You can tell they miss a lot more calls than normal officials,” Thomas said. “They don’t always administer the penalties the right way. They say the wrong numbers, march off the wrong distance. All these little mistakes like that are obvious.”
The mistakes are obvious. But that doesn’t mean the NFL is willing to spend the money it will take to bring back the regular refs.