Pereira says Eastin “never would have been hired” under normal procedures


Former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira has become an important voice in the ongoing referee lockout.  Pereira, who has been a game official and who later supervised all officials, had a key role in the league’s last lockout of game officials, 11 years ago.

In the current lockout, which features competing allegations and assertions between the league office and the NFL Referees Association, Pereira brings the knowledge and experience that naturally flows from the various hats he wore.

And so, as it relates to the question of whether a game official’s past participation in the World Series of Poker should preclude the game official from NFL employment, Pereira knows a thing or two about the procedures.

The league contends that replacement official Shannon Eastin’s participation in the 2007 WSOP doesn’t disqualify her, even though the league says Eastin can’t participate in the WSOP while working for the NFL, either during the season or after the season.  Pereira, who now serves as the rules analyst for the NFL on FOX, tells PFT that the normal screening procedures would have resulted in Eastin being rejected.

“Gambling is a no-no, period, when it reaches this level,” Pereira said.  “This is not a friendly golf wager or a group of guys playing poker at home.  If, in the normal background check process, this level of gambling was uncovered, the person would never have been hired.”

The question of whether participating in a poker tournament should be prohibited for current officials or whether past participation should disqualify an official from being hired provide fodder for a compelling debate.  Participating in a poker tournament, some would contend, isn’t gambling.  And even if it is, if the person isn’t doing it now, it shouldn’t matter.  Still, the point is that the NFL, if Pereira’s contention is accurate, apparently has relaxed its screening procedures and/or its standards in order to field a full complement of replacement officials.

Some may be troubled by that.  Some may not be.  If, however, the league has been required to deviate from its normal processes, there surely will be some sweaty palms and nervous stomachs at 345 Park Avenue when the regular season begins with a collection of game officials who may or may not have survived the more rigorous requirements that the locked-out officials previously have satisfied.

35 responses to “Pereira says Eastin “never would have been hired” under normal procedures

  1. Former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira has become an important voice in the ongoing referee lockout. Pereira, who has been a game official and who later supervised all officials, had a key role in the league’s last lockout of game officials, 11 years ago.

    In the current lockout, which features competing allegations and assertions between the league office and the NFL Referees Association, Pereira brings the knowledge and experience that naturally flows from the various hats he wore.

    lol at all this fluff, he’s just a stubborn ex-ref who has shown unwavering support for their cause. Every single thing he’s said, including this, has been 100% irrelevant to the current situation. And that’s on top of the bias.

  2. I’m so tired of talking about officials. We spend the entire season complaining about them anyway, so might as well go with the replacements so we can complain about different people at least. Make them sit at home and watch with the rest of us.

  3. I used to like this guy years ago. Now he is a pompous jerk that throws around his opinion as fact. He is a hypocrite. He crossed the line to be a “scab” ref the last time this happened. It was fine for him to do it years ago but now that somebody else is training to be a replacement NFL official he has a problem with it. Attacking their on-field mistakes in the first pre-season game, attacking their qualifications and competence and now attacking their backgrounds is pretty low. rather than engage the NFL in meaningful negotiations, these fools are acting like petulant children. Shut up and go away until a deal is made. If no deal can be made, good luck in your other careers.

  4. How come when the ref calls a holding penalty on a kickoff the broadcast never shows a replay anymore?

    Did the NFL ask them not to show a replay unless they can find a close up of the hold? Does the NFL tell its broadcast partners not to criticize the refs?

    They throw that flag and the broadcast acts like its no big deal, but statistically speaking if you start at the 30 as opposed to the 10, you have a much much higher chance of scoring.

    It just seems fishy.

  5. Does pereira’s knowledge and expertise come from supporting everything the refs did while he was employed by the NFL and then turn around and bash them and the league when he started working for Fox?

  6. She played that tournament in 2007!!! Holy geez, it was 5 years ago. If it’s an isolated incident, so be it. For some people, playing in the WSOP is a lifelong dream and they save up to play in it a single time.

    Now if the NFL finds out that she’s a regular at the Bicycle Club or the Bellagio or Borgata or something, that’s different. Or if they find out she played a lot of online poker before Black Friday, she shouldn’t referee in the NFL.

    But….if she played a single tournament 5 years ago, as Mike Ditka and crew like to say…

    COME ON, MAN!!!

  7. So what?

    The Owners relaxed their normal hiring principles during the periods when they brought in replacement players, so what’s different about replacement refs?

    Guys were wearing NFL uniforms who had no business doing so, because there was not a great pool of talented NFL-caliber players to choose from when the real NFL-caliber players are not available.

    At least these replacement officials are currently certified and working in major college programs and other professional leagues. In that respect, they’re far above the talent level of replacement players.

  8. Desperate times call for desperate measures…so what if they would not be hired normally. This is not a normal situation. So what.s the point? That they should allow the Season to be affected while sticking to some arbitrary rule? Dude get off it…does anyone even care what this dude thinks?

  9. “Gambling is a no-no, period, when it reaches this level,” Pereira said.

    “Where was this advice when I hired Tim Donaghy?!”

    -David Stern

  10. Is it just me or do other people groan whenever FOX switches to Pereira during a game?

  11. There can’t be nearly the hand wringing in the league offices than what goes on in these articles.

    Either the replacement refs can do the job or they can’t. End of Story. Regardless of the wailing and moaning of the refs or this site.

    If the replacement refs look horrible in the next few weeks the league will most likely cave. If the replacments don’t fall flat on their faces in the preseason the union will most likely cave. The question then would be does the league accept them back.

    IMO, if the replacment refs can do the job, keep them.

  12. Seems weird to me though, where does it stop? Players play in poker tournaments in the off season and they don’t get scrutinized. They have just as much influence on how the game plays out/ends as the refs (obviously). Anyways I wonder how many players bet on the Kentucky Derby or things like that, why stop at the refs? So dumb! I’m just glad football is back with or without the regular refs!

  13. Pereira says he has no dog in the fight, but clearly he is clearly sitting onteh NFLRA side. Whatever, he is an ex-ref. I wouldn’t expect a retired teacher to side against the teachers union.

    So what if the NFL has had to relax its standards to fill all the positions needed. It is not like she was a junkie doing tricks to pay off her loan shark. She participated in a legal sporting competition that isn’t even gambling, even though there is a payoff a the end. Hey NFLRA, don’t the super bowl winners get a nice check for winning it? No difference here.

    Go away Pereira and NFLRA. No one cares.

  14. After seeing how last years officials performed, I don’t think it matters.

    How anyone can go under the hood and not reverse the play in the Giants/Packers game speaks volumes about the quality of “regular” refs.

    Get it right, or we move on!

  15. How much do NFL referees make per-season? ALL COMBINED, the one game salary of one superstar player? It’s shocking to me that this is happening. The greedy rich NFL wants to keep it’s money and not give the peasant referees what they want, huh.

  16. Well, how can you hire under normal procedures when normal procedures cannot take place with union referees locked out and no CBA???

    That’s like signing “scab” players under normal rules during the 1987 strike!!!

  17. I personally dont see with playing in a poker tournament has to do with being a ref in the NFL. what people do in their own time is their business IMO. the quality of the gms being called in the last couple of yrs and all the badly blown calls I welcome the replacement refs it cant be any worse than the regulars. actually in the new contract there should be a stipulation that if you make a really obvious erroneous call then you lose part of your gm check and maybe that wil get these guys to give a damn because from what I see they dont care whether or not they get it right or not as long as they get that check.

  18. The old refs weren’t that great anyway. Time and new blood just might make the game better, and it’s about time the league integrated with women, as long as she knows the rules and will make the call who cares.

  19. I am on the side of the regular officials, they will make the game better. They have the experience and training.

    But Pereira the Grump and his brothers in the Union should just shut up already. They make on average $140,000 per year before playoff games for part-time work. The contract the NFL put out there takes it about $190,000 a year.

    Come on guys…Just shut up. Let the replacements screw up. The constant whining shows a little weakness on the part of the union.

  20. its not good news for the nflra when the story is about who the refs are and not how the replacement refs did in the hof game. if the replacement refs do a good job then the nflra has lost leverage.

  21. Long and the short of this.. this is just a ruse to stir for their cause.. Pereira is just assisting.

    This is about as relevant as FBI-302 report from the 1980’s.. the FBI’s investigation into NFL referees and $100,000 payout to a couple of NFL referees.

    Or that lingering questions of Scott Green’s crew call in 2008 that affected the betting line.

    NFL referees can go to Vegas with permission.. she Clayton’s article on Ed Hochuli and whether the job is a full time job.

    Again.. how far shall we dig into their lives.. just as they are digging into the replacements lives.


  22. I generally support the regular refs in this. If its true that the gap between them amounts to $100K/team, then there is really no reason for this entire affair in the first place.

    HOWEVER, this attack on Eastin over an appearance 5 years ago at the WSOP is ludicrous, and hypocritical, and puts the NFL and their mouthpieces in a bad light.

    Hell, one of the faces of the league, Michael Vick, used built an entire business venture on illegal dog fights.

    Besides, while there certainly luck involved, most knowledgeable people will tell you that Poker isn’t gambling.

  23. None of these regular officals ever went to a casino or bet the horses before they got hired?

  24. Why does the NFLRA keep trying to portray poker as the same type of “gambling” as say, roulette, or sports betting? Poker is a game where, yes they do play for money, which they put up themselves. But it is more a game of skill than of chance. People who love to play poker are not by definition the same people who compulsively wager at the dog track. There may be some overlap of those type of people, but that is no reason to categorically define a poker player as a “gambler.” It is a weak tactic that is hurting the NFLRA more than helping them.

    Aside from that, refs need to be kept in their place anyhow. Nobody wants a situation like in MLB where you get a bunch of umps who think they are the star of the show.

  25. I believe I have just had my 1,000,000 completely innocuous, swear-free, non-antagonistic post deleted by PFT.

    There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to why this happens. I can’t be the only person this is happening to.

    I’m sure this one will get pulled down too, maybe at least a moderator will see it first.

  26. I’m starting to hope FOX fires this d-bag for adversely effecting their relationship with an important client.

  27. as a person who has paticipated in 100’s of poker tournaments there is NOTHING about entry in a tournament would cause me to commit a crime. besides after a person pays their entry fee it becomes a GAME OF COMPETITION not a game of chance no different than entering a golf tournament or a softball tournament.

  28. Ever since Pereira has gone TV world he is now the authority on all to do in the officials world…problem is he never goes against the refs calls a they do no wrong and now gee he is on their side against the replacements. What do you expect him to say.

  29. I don’t wish her any harm, however as a scab she has set her self up for a label that will follow her forever, like cancer, a scab is a cancer, they go together. Bill

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