Locked-out officials plan to point out replacement official’s poker past


The good news for the NFL is that the debate regarding replacement officials will soon move on from the question of whether Hall of Fame game referee Craig Ochoa was fired by the Lingerie Football League.

The bad news is that the league will be dealing with another replacement official’s recent past as a high-stakes poker player.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the locked-out officials will soon be making it known that Shannon Eastin, who will become the first female official to work an NFL game, has played in the World Series of Poker.

Multiple links containing reports from the 2007 event mention Eastin.

At a time when the league is suing New Jersey to prevent gambling on NFL games, and in light of the league’s staunch opposition to gambling in most forms (except the ones that the owners are allowed to engage in, or those from which the league can make money, like scratch-and-lose tickets), the league office either didn’t know about Eastin’s poker playing or opted to make an exception given the need for replacement officials.

Some may regard the coming assault from the locked-out officials as an attack on Eastin’s gender.  It’s a far deeper problem than that, in our view.  The league has strong views on gambling, and the last persons associated with pro football who should have any connection to gambling are the game officials.

We’re not saying that Shannon Eastin will be the next Tim Donaghy.  We’re saying that, if the standards for screening replacement officials are sufficiently lax to let a former contestant in the World Series of Poker get through the filter, perhaps one of the other 119 replacement officials will be the next Tim Donaghy.

UPDATE 11:00 p.m. ET:  We’ve tracked down the rules regarding gambling by game officials.

101 responses to “Locked-out officials plan to point out replacement official’s poker past

  1. That’s absurd. She played poker so that’s it? She’s some gambling addict who is going to fix games to pay off her debts to the mob? That’s a ridiculous claim.

  2. I suggest a compromise. The league bows to the NFLRA’s salary demands, and in exchange, the head official from each crew has to answer questions from the media after each game, just like head coaches do. Let them earn their extra money by having to squirm for 15 minutes defending all their lousy calls from the game.

  3. The point is that the NFL is very anal about gambling. And one of the replacement officials has played poker. Which is gambling. And the locked-out officials are going to make an issue out of it.

  4. Wait, so no NFL ref can buy a lottery ticket or get into a local church 50/50 raffle?

    Last t ime I checked – Espn televises the WSOP – Its talked here like its the same as gambling on dog fighting.

    Maybe they should be looking into Hocholi’s steroid use?

    Part of me now is rooting for the locked out refs to stay locked out.

  5. To me all this he did this they did that by the locked officials is coming across as petty if they have that big of a problem with the people doing their job because they want more money or what not then take what the league is offering you! If not they should just bugger off I haven’t cared for their officiating for years so it doesn’t bother me be good to get some new blood out there officiating they can’t do much worse lol

  6. Could be worse. At least it wasn’t a prisoner on a work-release like the QB of the Redskins back in 87 (Tony Robinson). Plus, the refs need to shut up and worry about getting a deal done before they lose money.

  7. Next thing the locked out refs will say is something crazy like “the new refs cant figure out what a catch is or isn’t or is or isn’t or is or isn’t or is” ahhhhh, I’m confused again!!!

  8. Wow…just wow. You can place a bet in Vegas on just about anything involving the NFL, from the first point scored in preseason to the last TD in the SuperBowl.

    I don’t care how anal the NFL is about gambling…it’s real and legal in Las Vegas. To suggest that she could somehow fix games because she played in a legal (and what could be very lucrative) poker tournament is just beyond the realm of stupidity.

    This season can’t start soon enough.

  9. I don’t have a problem with a female ref…. Don’t want her throwing games though and I would want to be able to check her accounts. But hey maybe she just likes to play poker!

  10. Tournament poker is as it sounds, a tournament. No different than competing in a scrabble, grappling, chess, etc. tournament where there is cash available to win.

  11. That’s absolutely stupid – she played in the WSOP – so that naturally means she is going to rig games? Hell, half the time it looks like the regular officials are rigging games with the crappy calls they make and the horrible no calls they let go….this is just a case of the other officials boooo freeaaaakin’ hoooo ing.

  12. “The league bows to the NFLRA’s salary demands, and in exchange, the head official from each crew has to answer questions from the media after each game” Agreed. And..

    I have absolutely no problem with women officiating men’s sports, or any other job. My only concern is that it has to be awfully hard to call a game that you have never played. (Excuse me if I am incorrect in the case Eastin, just saying that very few women in the country have played organized football). I don’t care if you’re male, female, transgender, whatever, I think NFL, and any league really, should use officials that have played organized football, baseball, basketball, hockey, anything.

  13. How entertaining is it to watch the most thin-skinned and least transparent group of professionals act in such a manner? They direct criticisms of performance and credibility against others. Criticisms that they would not measure themselves against.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Love it.

  14. I personally don’t care what these people did in the past, but I want the real officials. One mistake that helps decide and W or L and the fans will be in up roar, get the real deal in at all cost

  15. Mike Florio says:
    Aug 8, 2012 9:48 PM
    The point is that the NFL is very anal about gambling. And one of the replacement officials has played poker. Which is gambling. And the locked-out officials are going to make an issue out of it.

    5 23 i Rate This

    I am sure its really gambling the way you play it – but some people know what they’re doing!

  16. Just cause she plays Poker in the largest and most prestigious LEGAL Poker tournement on the planet?? Are u ******* kidding me???

  17. Why don’t they round up everybody in the league that’s taken over the counter cold medication because they’re likely to be cooking meth in the bathtub…

  18. Hasn’t the league now approved stadium advertisements for casinos now? Casinos that don’t offer sports gambling, that is? I could have sworn that was the case…which makes this a non-issue: she participated in something that can be advertised at a stadium.

  19. Instead of trying to bash and break down the replacement officials, they should try working things out with the league. The replacements are just trying to take advantage of an amazing opportunity. No need to rain on their parade for trying to do the job you’re refusing to do.

  20. I see it as a non-issue. Don’t care she is female. Don’t care she likes poker. As long as she isn’t betting on sports= non-issue in my book. I like the officiating of the regulars as much as anyone can. That being said if you have EVER sat with your buddies and played for cash, been on bodog or got drinks at the table of a casino for “free”, then this is a non-issue. I am guessing all the regular officials fit that bill. That being said teams should roll over for the xtra $100k a team and end this.

  21. Oh the irony, considering that every single NFL game starts with an old gambling game (the coin toss).

  22. There ain’t a doubt that she wouldn’t get by making sure someone she knows cover the spread but at the same time isn’t that every ref.

  23. and next week they’ll break the news that 3 of the replacement but soon to be better than them refs actually wet the bed at a pajama party for 5 year olds; the following week it’ll be at least one of them has a nipple ring, and then …. . Hey, NFLRA members get your panties out of your butt cracks and get back to work and just shut up and do your job or go away.

  24. There is a difference between being strict/anal about something and being completely irrational. She participated in a legal tournament 5 years ago. Correlating that to a potential game fixing scandal is absurd. If she was betting on football games, they MIGHT have a valid point. Lottery, raffles, and office pools are “gambling” too. She participated in a legal tournament of a specific skill. It is no different than entering a golf, beach volleyball, bowling or 3 on 3 basketball tourney that has a money prize. By that ridiculous standard Romo’s golf escapades would qualify as gambling.

  25. Really… this is what the locked out refs are going to use to leverage their position.

    Really… smells of absolute desperation if you ask me.

    She entered and competed in a legal tournament that didn’t involve sports.. most notably football.

    Once each and everyone of the locked out refs submit a complete review of all activity they have experienced in their lives I will care.

    Get to it boys.

  26. The striking refs need to fire their lawyers and PR team. They are making them look like a bunch of petty old fools.

  27. I too love doowix’s idea. Maybe the game calling would improve if the refs were not artificially insulated from legitimate criticism.

  28. Someone should let the old refs know that nobody cares. Fans’ money makes the league go ’round. Replacement players is an issue for fans. Replacement refs is not. Most of us won’t even notice the difference.

  29. We’re talking about poker here. Poker. What the hell does it matter? She’s not gambling on NFL games. Ed Hochuli has never flexed his guns pulling a slot machine arm? Ron Winter has never played a hand of Blackjack? Come on, now. This is a total non-issue. The ref union is just trying to grasp anything to crap on the replacements.

  30. I assume this means no owner or Commissioner or ref has ever been to Vegas for a vacation, then… Maybe that is true, but if not, this should not be any sort of flag. I agree that all of this talk from the refs is coming off as childish, and they are just lashing out to make a point that isn’t being made… The reality is, even though I prefer the real officials to replacement ones, they shouldn’t be attacking the folks who may have dreamed of officiating an NFL game, and would never otherwise be in such a position…they should go after the league on real issues and topics, and stop playing this out in the press by dragging other people (even if they are taking the real refs’ jobs at the moment) through the mud.

    If my job was outsourced at work, I’d be upset with my former employer, but not at the person that the role was outsourced to, unless it was a malicious attempt to usurp me. The replacement refs didn’t bring this on, the league and the real refs did….these replacements are just caught in the middle.

  31. Sometimes I get the feeling that the NFL hires a PR firm to vote on and maybe even write some of these comments.

  32. It appears the court of public opinion has trended strongly toward the NFL and away from the usual officials. Bring on more chicks. Just not in the broadcast booth…that would just be painful.

  33. @geefan1: you need to learn the difference between a strike and a lock out. until then, and until you get some of the facts of the story, you might want to refrain from commenting.

  34. @geefan1: you need to learn the difference between a strike and a lock out. until then, and until you get some of the facts of the story, you might want to refrain from commenting.

    Lockout VS stike is semantics here. The NFL is going to wait for the regular season to start and the refs derail the season with a strike, so they started putting their replacements in place.

    Strike or lockout, the refs efforts to assassinate the characters or careers of the replacements makes them look petty and foolish.

  35. its very simple. the nba had referees gambling on games. this referee gambles as a professional. its easy to see why the nfl would not want someone with a major gambling past having anything to do with outcome of one of their nfl games.

    i for one really want to old officials back. the new ones scare me because they are simply high school refs with the same favorites and non-favorite football teams as the average fan. they can be much more biased than ever before, and who does the nfl turn to if this turns out to be the case. get the old refs back. pay your employees you rich jackaces.

  36. These part-time referees must not happy with just their full-time occupations. They’re getting desparate if they bring up something like this.

  37. Harry Reid wants to see all the replacement refs tax returns for the last 10 years.

  38. Is poker gambling or a game of skill. Many states allow poker due to the wildly belief that it is game of skill and not a game of luck such as roulette or slot machines. If someone opens a small business is this gambling? Sounds like things are getting stretched to make a feeble point! So what if she plays poker. What does poker have to do with football or vice versa?

  39. Effin’ ridiculous. Playing poker may be gambling, but is BY NO MEANS connected to throwing games. People and out-of-work refs, just shut the F up.

  40. I’m sure Goodell read this and said, “Oh my God! One of our referees played completely legal professional poker five years ago, and she won $25K. How will we ever overcome the unfathomably bad PR fallout when fans find out about this! Quick, get our old perfect officials on the phone, and give them whatever they’re asking for – plus at least 20%”

    . . . and then he bursts into laughter . . .

  41. Is it just me or are they intentionally targeting this Replacement Ref because they may not want Replacements in the League, but they SURELY don’t want a FEMALE in the NFL Refereeing?

    I just want to watch some football, and while I am watching it, for there to be a evenly ‘called’ game for either side so that I may enjoy it to it’s fullest degree. Whether its a Female, Male, Replacement Ref or Full time Ref…the truth of the matter is that I DON’T CARE!!! I feel like we are all playing football at the neighborhood park in our sweatpants, and the whiney kid is trying to pick up the ball and go home.

  42. Are you seriuos….you mean to tell me those old locked out refs have never played in a poker game? Ok…maybe they never played in the WSOP, but they have never played in a home poker game? Come on!!!!

  43. Really? They’re gonna play that card? Lord knows what kind of skeletons are lurking in Hoculi’s closet!

  44. I didn’t think it was possible for a union to look more incompetent than the NFLPA.

    The NFLRA is rapidly proving me wrong. Go on, attack the one female referee because she played…..GASP…….poker! That’ll win the dispute, I’m tellin’ ya!

    Next you can look super petty and point out any minor mistakes they make in a pre-season game…..Wait, they already did that? Good grief!

  45. Ummmm….. ‘scuse me, but the WSOP is gambling? Does that mean that Tiger and all the other members of the PGA Tour are gamblers too?

    They pay a fee to enter the tournament, and win prizes if they do well, and get nothing if the face plant on the 18th green.

    How is the World Series of Poker any different?

  46. Seems like the locked out refs are just trying to stir up some drama.. Oh no she played in a legal poker game.. Before she ever refed a professional football game.. And I’m so sure no other official has ever played poker in their lives..

  47. Since the NFL seems to set aside the rules of having any association with gambling by these replacement officials, wouldn’t this be a negotiating item for the NFLRA in this labor negotiation?

    Basically the NFL is stating they do not care that Sheena Easton is associated with gambling-since she will be gone in 4-6 games and never heard from again, can’t Ed Hochuli now go to Vegas during the season to sit by the pool and play some cards?

    The NFLRA should press the league on their double standard herein, either an official (any official either replacement or regular) should abide by the code of ethics established by the league or they need to set it aside for all officials (replacement or regular), the hypocrisy for the league is they now have one heck of a moral dilemma to solve by tomorrow nights game before Sheena takes the morning train to the Q to become infamous.

  48. So do they think she’s going to bet on games and then try to manipulate the outcome? Well that’d be pretty hard to do since there’s seven refs out there…

    This is just a desperate attempt for the locked-out officials to try to get rid of the replacement ones.

  49. Betting on football is gambling
    Poker is gambling
    Buying a lottery scratch card is gambling
    Entering the office sweepstakes is gambling
    Investing in stocks is gambling
    Having unprotected sex is gambling
    Crossing the street is gambling

    If you go through your whole life avoiding the “OMG evil gambling!” then you will have to spend your whole life in bed with the duvet over your head. Which, unfortunately, is also gambling because you might suffocate…

  50. As long as it’s not some type of serious arrest (or a DUI, like everyone else) who cares what she did before she became a replacement ref?

  51. Serious?
    I don’t gamble, so i don’t give a flying phuck, but fyi playing in a poker tournament is NOT akin to betting on game results.
    Seriously?!?! Shameful.

  52. As a Brit who can bet on pretty much anything legally (I don’t bet very much though, and when I do it’s in very small amounts) I find the laws on gambling in the US totally baffling.

  53. Question for you Mr. Florio,

    Is the NBA not nearly as “anal” about gambling as the NFL? Or are they just oblivious

    Shawn Marion and Paul Pierce both played in the WSOP in 2011. Other current NBA players also entered the WSOP as well.

    Why isn’t the NBA outraged or the least bit concerned about this? Are players not just as capable of fixing games as officials?

  54. Yes, because no other official has ever gotten together with the lads for a game of poker on a Friday night. That is ridiculous.

  55. HAHAHAHAHA they are gonna fire a ref that did nothing wrong but play a legal poker tournament. How can they fire her for being related to gambling, when a football game starts off with a freaking Coin flip? A coin flip is the biggest gamble of all time.

  56. The new refs include a Lady. She’s exited to get the chaces. News only to the 70 somethings that tell the world that they should blow the coin toss better. 75000$ says she makes you eat dirt Hoc… 75 grand old fool. Good while it lasted huh? Wish you didn’t buy that extra house now huh…. idiot.

  57. Wow, ok, first @nflfollower go to hell. You don’t want a female ref? I have a feeling that’s because a lot of females haven’t had much interest in you.

    Second, is someone not allowed to participate in a legal activity on their own time? Maybe if gambling were illegal this might be an issue worth looking at, but as the law stands today it is completely legal and I don’t think it’s fair to challenge someone’s employment due to their participation in a legal hobby.

    That’s like saying she used to be a dog walker so she might be the next Michael Vick.

  58. Bottom Line: The NFLRA is a union. Unions don’t play nice. The longer this goes the worse it will get. If you haven’t figured out how organized labor works you are now getting a glimpse at the inside of the sausage factory. Suddenly Mike Pereira sees bad calls all over the field when he usually explains away why a ref screwed up, digging up people’s irrelevant pasts, etc. Good Times!

  59. What about mayors of opposing teams betting on the outcome? Will the league ‘hang’ them too?

  60. @geefan1: you need to learn the difference between a strike and a lock out. until then, and until you get some of the facts of the story, you might want to refrain from commenting.

    Lockout VS stike is semantics here. The NFL is going to wait for the regular season to start and the refs derail the season with a strike, so they started putting their replacements in place.


    No, it’s not semantics at all. It’s two completely different things.

    A strike would be the refs saying “We refuse to come into work until you give us what you want.”

    A lockout is the NFL telling the refs “We refuse to LET YOU come into work until you do what WE want.”

    I always had a nagging suspicion that an embarrassingly large number of NFL fans didn’t know the difference. But hell, most NFL fans still don’t properly understand the whole “ground can’t cause a fumble” rule, so I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise.

  61. 1. The NFL prohibits any gambling by its officials. It has nothing to with the legality of gambling, so stop mentioning that it’s “legal.” That’s Irrelevant. It’s also legal to smoke, but more and more employers refuse to hire smokers.

    2. The WSOP has a $10,000 buy-in. That’s some serious scratch. Now that doesn’t mean Eastin is a chronic gambler with a huge gambling debt. But it does give you the indication that this probably isn’t the first time she’s gambled on cards in Vegas. You don’t go from playing gin rummy with your grandma straight to the WSOP in Vegas.

    Does it mean Eastin has a gambling problem? Not at all. But the NFL doesn’t want their officials running in that world AT ALL. And Eastin playing in the WSOP indicates that not only does she at least dabble in that world, but she’s probably fairly experienced in it.

    As if the honesty and integrity of the NFL and it’s officials isn’t questioned enough — you think they want an official out there with direct big money ties to Vegas? C’mon people, get real.

  62. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the locked-out officials will soon be making it known that Shannon Eastin, who will become the first female official to work an NFL game, has played in the World Series of Poker.


    Isn’t that particular cat out of the bag now? I’m not sure what would be gained by the NFLRA in pursuing this since the league beat them to the punch in releasing it. The NFLRA would be better off sitting quietly in the corner and crossing their fingers that the replacement refs screw up on the field because the NFLRA’s off the field attempts aren’t working.

    I’m still waiting on the NFLRA to publicize the NFLRA’s officials mistakes for the last 5 years so I can compare what they released about the replacement refs.

  63. Who cares as long as he/she gets the calls right… How about the officiating crews worry about that, way too many bad calls.

    I don’t think that legal poker tournaments have anything to do with being able to blow a whistle or throw a flag.

  64. The NFL should just pay the real refs the money they are looking for.they do a very important and difficult job and the NFL has more than enough money to give them the raise they seek,the NFL will spend more on the lawsuits against it than what it costs to give the referees the raise. money really is no object so why make the referees go on strike to get more of it.just pay and play ball.

  65. So, you’re saying they can’t invest in the stock market, either, right? I mean, everybody knows with this economy the stock market has more crazier odds than winning with a 2 7 offsuit against aces…..

  66. Poker isn’t gambling. But I sure do like playing against people who think it is. 😉

  67. Whoa, my head is spinning. WSOP you say? Man, my views of the replacements are shattered. This is all that Huckleberry and crew can dig up? Gonna have to ask all the good ole boys if any of them have ever pulled the arm on a slot machine, bought a Lotto ticket, or ever played bingo. What a bunch of r-tards.

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