Jay Glazer of FOX reported earlier today that the NFLPA expressed to the league in writing its concerns regarding the replacement officials. We have now obtained the writing.
In a September 5, 2012 letter from NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, DePaso requests biographies of all replacement officials, including their names, ages, and experience.
“Should it be evident that the replacement officials are under-qualified or inexperienced, we reserve the right to assert that utilizing replacement officials jeopardizes the health and safety of our members and to take appropriate action to protect our members,” DePaso wrote. “In addition, our players request that the locked-out officials immediately be allowed to return to work for this weekends’ games to ensure the players’ health and safety is protected until you reach a new agreement with them.”
DePaso also called the performance of the replacement officials “sub-par” during the preseason, “far below the standard set by the members of the Referees Association.” He likewise expressed concern regarding the ability of the replacements to adjust to the “increased competition, speed and level of play” in the regular season.
On the surface, the replacements have stepped up. They look the part and sound the part, with no obvious blunders. But that doesn’t mean they’re making all the calls that the regular officials would make.
And so it’s unlikely the NFLPA will go away quietly. The question remains when the words will become action, and why action hasn’t already been taken.
UPDATE 7:55 p.m. ET: NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that Pash responded to the letter, agreed to provide the information, and said there is no evidence that the replacement officials are jeopardizing player safety.