NFL, former refs at odds over training replacement officials

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Prominent former referees including Jerry Markbreit and Red Cashion have refused to train replacement officials to take the jobs of the league’s locked-out regular officials, leading to a standoff between the trainers and the NFL.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports that Markbreit, Cashion and seven other former game officials who have previously worked for the league training current officials have apparently been fired for refusing to train replacements.

The NFL never actually told us in writing we were fired,” Markbreit said. “However, they took our computers back, and they shut off the NFL website as they did to all of the officials. We feel that we’re fired. They haven’t formally notified us, but it sure feels like we’re fired.”

The other officiating trainers asked to return their computers were Ron Botchan, Bill Schmitz, Ben Montgomery, Jim Quirk, Sid Semon, Tom Fincken and Dean Look. Markbreit said none of them felt comfortable with training replacements.

“They wanted us to train the replacements, which we would absolutely not do,” Markbreit said. “We were all officials for 20-plus years. . . . How could we face our people? There wasn’t a question about us doing this. We knew this was coming. It’s very discouraging for [the league] to have put us in this kind of situation.”

The league has declined to comment on the matter. If the league and the National Football League Referees Association can’t come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL will start the season with replacement officials. And it’s not clear who will train those replacement officials.

4 responses to “NFL, former refs at odds over training replacement officials

  1. I have lost faith in every official in every sport, just when you think you have seen a bad call, wait 5 minutes & you will see a worse call then the one before!!

  2. Or how about just paying the old guys what they want, and letting trained officials call these games.

    I wouldn’t want to train my forced replacement, either.

  3. These guys are retired though. So they aren’t training their replacement. They just have to remain loyal to their bros though. I blame the owners as well.

  4. While I empathize with the “former referees” which means former union members now employed by the league, and no longer union members, you can’t really blame the league for their position either. I totally get that these guys have personal relationships with current union referees and they wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye’s after training replacements but for Christ’s sake their not air traffic controllers. What are the sticking points to the negotiations?

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