NFLPA expresses “concern” over hiring of “scab” officials

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The NFL has locked out the members of the NFL Referees Association.  The NFL Players Association has weighed in on the subject.

As we surmised earlier in the day, the issue could become the next front in the ever-growing fight between the league and the union.

The NFL Players Association is concerned about the NFL’’s decision to lock out professional referees and recruit scabs to serve as referees in NFL games for the 2012 season,” the NFLPA said in a statement released Monday.

“In 2011, the NFL tasked officials with increased responsibilities in protecting player health and safety, and its search for scabs undermines that important function.  Professional athletes require professional referees, and we believe in the NFL Referees Association’’s trained first responders.  The NFLPA will continue to monitor the league’s actions in this situation.”

The comments from the NFLPA come after a flurry of developments starting with the league announcing that replacement officials would be recruited and trained and acknowledging that the officials have been locked out.  The NFL Referees Association thereafter accused the NFL of never intending to work toward a fair agreement.  And the NFL replied by pointing out that the NFLRA had planned to take a strike vote, and to drag out the negotiations until late in the summer.  We did not begin to contact potential replacements until well after the union advised us in March of its intention to take a strike vote and told us of its plan to drag out the negotiations until late summer.

“The officials we are hiring are professionals who officiate games at a high level and have backgrounds similar to current NFL officials,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email.  “We have every confidence that the officials who we bring on will do a fully credible job, and will manage our games efficiently and effectively enforce the playing rules.”

The NFLPA begs to differ.  And on this point we tend to agree with the NFLPA.  Absent significant financial incentives and guarantees, the best of the best non-NFL officials surely won’t walk away from their current officiating assignments with, for example, the NCAA and immerse themselves in learning the nuances of the NFL rule book, knowing that there’s every likelihood that, by the time the real games roll around, the NFL and the NFLRA will get a deal done.

And so the NFL will necessarily be getting something worse than the best officials.  They won’t even be getting the second-best officials.  Especially if some of the officials who are approached about serving as replacements resist the opportunity to serve as, well, scabs.

62 responses to “NFLPA expresses “concern” over hiring of “scab” officials

  1. The NFLRA didn’t mind when the league hired scab players way back when so I think it should go both ways. This isn’t a matter for the NFLPA. We know you like to stick your nose in everyone’s business De Smith but butt out this time.

  2. I am stunned that the NFLPA has taken the opposite position of the NFL on an issue. STUNNED.

  3. “NFLPA expresses “concern” over hiring of “scab” officials”.
    After the last couple years of officiating, I’d think that should read “NFL fans express concern over current officials.”

  4. The scab refs cant be any worse than the normal ones. Until they make nfl officials a full time job we will be stuck with shotty officiaiating.

  5. “the NFL’’s decision to lock out professional referees and recruit scabs”

    “and its search for scabs undermines”

    Scabs, sniff sniff, whaaaaa. God I hate unions.

  6. Who really cares what the NFLPA thinks about this? Did they forget that they are still the employees not the employers. Its not their job to tell the NFL what they think about a third parties labor situation. Just shut up and play football.

  7. “Professional athletes require professional referees……..” but not professional conduct, just ask J. Blackmon. I don’t think the NFLPA would agree if the NFL told them that the sky was blue.

  8. If revenues are increasing, so should salaries. That’s the way the cookie should crumble, but I guess this union which is asking for more money below the 2006 increase they received is the root of every problem in America. Well, at least that’s the message I get from posters.

  9. The NFLPA is so concerned about player safety that they are defending Vilma.

    The NFLPA makes me sick. They will always take a position that opposes the NFL.

  10. Really the most surprising thing about this official release is the use of “scab” and “scabs” in publicly issued release. You would think with as many lawyers and PR people the NFLPA have they could create something free of pejorative language.

  11. Wait until a few games get affected by blown calls. Maybe then the NFL will realize you get what you pay for. We fans pay a premium for your content, Mr. Goodell, and we expect premium officiating.

  12. I thought ‘scab’ was for actual union employees that cross the picket line?

    If these new refs are someone off the street, cut them some slack. They just trying to earn a living.

    I dobthink the NFL should hire Full time refs though. From my understanding most of these refs are lawyers and other professionals who do this part time. The NFL should make this a FT job so these guys can continue to get calls right.

  13. The NFLPA calling the replacement officials “scabs” is juvenile (as is the picture that accompanies this article). It seems to me that NCAA football officials would jump at the chance to pseudo-interview for a pro gig, even if they don’t get the job, ultimately. How many position coaches do the same thing, and eventually get head coaching positions? Hochuli and some of those guys get much respect from me, but quit your crying and get a deal done, if you don’t want to get replaced. That’s the life of a working stiff. Welcome to it.

  14. Press release from the International Fraternity of Workers & Laborers

    “We regret to inform the citizens of earth that another greedy cartel of evil capitalist pigs have again fed their snouts in the bowls of our common brothers!!! The time has come for us to declare what is right!!! The laborers that toil deserve to declare what is their portion. This number is NEED-based and with a diverse collective, it is recommended that a committee be formed to research this complex equation before submitting to a unified vote.”

    “Greed rules the dirty pig-pens of the owners with evil practices of declaring labor as a “cost” and inactive wealth sharing.”

    “We will appeal this decision to the Galactic Czar of Fairness and recommend a investigation for the crime on not sharing.”

    “To each according his need, from each according to their ability!”

  15. Do all of you Goodell sniffers get tired of worshiping everything he does? I read comment after comment supporting blindly everything he does.

    These refs should be training all year and be compensated well. Most of them have second jobs. Pay them well, train them year long and make an important part of the game as prepared as possible.

  16. NFL refs work part time. How many unions have ONLY part time employees??? Sounds pretty scabby to begin with…

  17. As we surmised earlier in the day, the issue could become the next front in the ever-growing fight between the league and the union.

    I don’t think so. This is merely a cursory response, one union showing support for another. This is a perfect time for the NFL to hire professional, full-time referees. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry for Chrissakes.

  18. “Scabs, sniff sniff, whaaaaa. God I hate unions.”

    You like your weekends though don’t you?

  19. all the drama in the NFL is getting really annoying. its like there a bunch on 3rd graders arguing over which crayon they want to use. they just need to get all the issues out on the table now and figure out the solutions so maybe there can be a year or two of peace. and all the players getting arrested is getting rediclious as well and i think the NFL needs to look at that policy because there tanting the image.

  20. It would be nice to have permanent officials after all the NFL could afford it! Just one thing needed ; an ability to fire officials that are as bad as the ones now locked out!. How about it NFL and NFLRA should agree on this item FIRST before any agreement is signed by either party!. Now on with the games.

  21. I swear… is it NFLPA policy to disagree with EVERYTHING the league does regardless what it is?

  22. One of the biggest problems with this country is unions. They were needed 60 years ago but now are just a problem. Why does everybody think they are entitled to the same things that the men who put up the money and take the risk are entitled to. I’m a nonunion iron worker and I get paid ok and have no delusions of thinking I deserve the same as what the owner of the company makes. He built it with his money and takes the risk of going under so he deserves the big take. Tell me union boys what is it like to have a union telling you what to do, what to think, who to vote for, how long you can use the rest room. You are all sheep that can’t take care of yourselves. Doesn’t it bother you that every union boss in the country drives a cadillac on your dime?

  23. thcnote….Dude you are my hero…I could of have told it better. Unions will soon be a thing of the past. They are demenishing by the thousands. main reson is …who are they to take Union dues for political purposes? That’s just for starters.

  24. With as many games and plays these “professionals” screwed up last year they are in no position to negotiate. Shut up and take what you are offered

  25. As I read through these comments on this post and others in recent weeks, all I come away with is dumb, dumber, and dumbest. I don’t know where to begin. So I won’t.

  26. dontouchmyjunk says: Jun 4, 2012 11:49 PM

    As I read through these comments on this post and others in recent weeks, all I come away with is dumb, dumber, and dumbest. I don’t know where to begin. So I won’t.


    With a screen name like that I wouldn’t be tossing insults about being dumb

  27. If the NFL was concerened about player safety why would u have less experienced ref’s call a game not knowing what 2 look 4 regarding player safety? I mean try having a high school ref call a NFL game? Should B a fun Gladiator type of atmosphere with rookie refs intimidated and miss calls. Everyman 4 himself..I likes!

  28. I have never once gone to a game to see a ref, they are at best a necessary evil. How hard can it be to find a guy who will ignore holding at the end of games? Or every time a QB gets breathed on throw a flag? Tell me where to sign up I could use an extra 75k. Please do not let NFL refs become like MLB umps. Please NFL fight that fight.

  29. abninf says:Jun 4, 2012 9:02 PM

    “the NFL’’s decision to lock out professional referees and recruit scabs”

    “and its search for scabs undermines”

    Scabs, sniff sniff, whaaaaa. God I hate unions.

    If it weren’t for unions, we’d all be working for half the wage, twice the hours and no safety to speek of. Don’t think for one second, any rule in the OSHE book is written by corporation to protect a person. It is in that book BECAUSE of corporate greed, pushing the line and causing accidents/fatalities.

  30. Can’t wait until all the anti NFLRA jackwagons start huffing and puffing all over this board about those multiple bad calls from the replacement refs. LOL…

  31. If the players union were a real union, they’d refuse to play any games until the matter with the ref’s union is resolved to that union’s satisfaction.

    That is all.

  32. jlb10 says: Jun 4, 2012 9:22 PM

    does the nfl get along with anyone? just curious
    they seem awfully stingy
    I’m guessing that if their pockets weren’t as deep, they’d “get along” just swell with most people.

  33. Wait until a few games get affected by blown calls.


    Um, did you miss all of last season?

  34. You missed the real story here. The picture is a exact replica of the disguise Sean Payton planned to wear on the sidelines of Saints games this year. PFT has unknowingly ended this potential reign of terror!

  35. As a professional fan… I would love to volunteer and up dress as a zebra and lead my STEELERS to the super bowl!!

    Uggh… I mean.. be a fair official to all teams and players without any professional reputability vs. the likes the NFLRA who only wants what they are truly worth!

    FYI… NFL you are a multi billion dollar industry and you don’t want to pay your “knights” six figures? Not to mention who’s main job is to uphold the integrity of the game itself (WHILE ITS BEING PLAYED) and not in a hotel boardroom with Roger Greedy Godell.

  36. The fact that the players and refs are unionized is utterly absurd. The minimum NFL salary is $550,000. Many, many players make over $2-3 million a year. Still more make $4-8 million. And elite players are bringing in $10-20 million a year. Officials (who suck at their jobs) are working part time and making $25-75K.

    And these people are in unions? Just like many other industries, the unions will eventually kill the golden goose.

    By the way, I’m a public school teacher who is in a union, so beat *that* with stick.

  37. Would someone please tell me why anyone in this endeavor needs a union? The players willingly abuse themselves and each other, so it’s not like they are miners or postal workers. The refs have other full-time jobs, so it’s not like someone is pointing a gun at their heads to do this “work.”

    And like mancave points out above, the unions are killing the golden goose, especially in California, the goose being the taxpayers.

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