American football referees locked out


This video from the USA says about itself:

NFL Lockout Over

July 25, 2011

The owners and players came to an an agreement so the 2012 football season can begin in September. Cenk Uygur gives his take.

However, that was last year …

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

Lockout of National Football League referees continues

20 September 2012

The National Football League lockout of its on-field officials continues into the third week of the NFL season. The lockout has been in effect since early June, when the officials’ last contract expired and negotiations broke down. Two weeks later, the NFL announced that it would begin hiring and training replacement officials.

High-level college referees refused en masse to act as scabs. This left low-level college referees as the only available personnel to replace the highly skilled NFL officials. The result has been games plagued with missed calls, erroneous application of the rules, indeterminate delays in reviewing and then attempting to correct wrong calls, and near brawls between teams as the scab refs lost control of the goings-on on the field.

Fox TV analyst Mike Periera, the former head of NFL officiating, wrote on his blog: “You can’t expect replacements to know the intricacies of the NFL rule book in two weeks on the job. It takes years. But it doesn’t take long—two weeks—to see this is not working.”

Jerry Markbreit, an NFL official for 23 seasons before he retired in 1998, said Tuesday on ESPN’S The Mike Lupica Show, “It’s obvious to me that [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell just doesn’t even care. Otherwise, how could they replace professionalism with unprofessionalism in a game that’s so tough to work, even for the best officials in the land?”

Markbreit went on to say, “The management of the games gets tougher. These guys have relied on competent, top-notch, terrific officials all these years. And now they have a bunch of amateurs out there and it’s going to fall apart. It’s not going to get better, as the commissioner said…. It’s going to get worse.”

Markbreit has served as the head trainer for NFL referees since his retirement in 1998. When the league asked him to train the scab officials, he refused. He says he has been fired by the NFL.

Markbreit and others have charged that the use of replacement referees is a sign the league doesn’t care about the health of players.

In recent years, the NFL has emphasized the issue of player safety. With the recent exposure of the dangerous and long-term health effects of repeated concussions, the NFL has mandated that officials take an active part in protecting the safety of the players. The league’s injury and safety panel has directed that officials receive concussion awareness training, and that they remain alert for possible concussions during games. Officials, for the first time, will now have the power and responsibility to alert team medical staffs to provide players with medical attention.

“When you look around at some of the calls being missed, player safety is the big issue,” New York Giants’ defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said on Tuesday.

Giants’ defensive lineman Justin Tuck expressed similar concerns. He said: “I have seen pass interference—and I am a defensive player—at a high rate that hasn’t been called. I have seen holding at a high rate…. You never know what is going to happen when you get a holding call and guys feel free that they can do that because the referees aren’t seeing it. You get guys that [are] getting pulled down and get hamstring [injuries]. You get all these different types of things that could happen and player safety becomes an issue. That is what I am worried about.’’

Added Kiwanuka: “I don’t think you can levy tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars, in fines in a week against players, talking about ‘player safety this, player safety that,’ and not have…officials who can account for it.”

Bill Belichick does not seem to have gotten the memo from the NFL about respecting the replacement referees: here.

ESPN abruptly withdraws from documentary on concussions in NFL, raising questions about objectivity: here.

5 thoughts on “American football referees locked out

  1. On “Lockout of National Football League referees continues”

    Dear WSWS,

    I liked your article on the NFL referee lock-out. Still, I’d like to make sure you’re talking about the same NFL who plays here, i.e., the St. Louis Soon-To-Be Los Angeles Rams—again.

    To wit: The NFL I know moved the LA Rams to St. Louis, and allowed the other LA NFL entry—the Los Angeles Raiders—to move back to Oakland in order to use the lack of any NFL team in the nation’s 2nd largest TV market to blackmail at least 28 cities into building billion dollar stadiums.

    Lest these cities lose their own franchises to Los Angeles—unless they gave in to the NFL’s insatiable greed and its de facto immunity from anti-trust law suits.

    Moreover, all of the new stadiums have been required to build thousands of multi-million dollar corporate suites for the “Upper 1-percenters” to enjoy the sport in much the same way as ancient Roman emperors enjoyed the gladiator games in the Hippodrome and Coliseum. This is all being done for teams who play a “monumental” ten to twelve home games a year.

    True, many cities have shared the cost of new stadium construction with private investors and/or a few team owners. But the lion’s share (no pun intended) of toe costs of stadium construction has been achieved only through massive municipal and state funding at taxpayer expense.

    Even where team owners (like the Fords in Detroit) have invested more heavily into their new venues, the costs of street and highway upgrades surrounding the new arenas have been borne entirely by the public sector.

    Now that the re-location of the Rams to St. Louis has served its purpose—guess what? The Rams are on the verge of moving back to LA.

    What a shock! And to think the NFL can’t afford to cave in to the bloated and totally unjustified wage and benefit demands of its officials.

    I guess if NFL teams weren’t so poor, they could have built all the new stadiums with their own money. [Yet they still wouldn’t pay their refs. It’s not the money, of course—it’s the principles involved.] Meanwhile, in the NFL’s “Rust Belt,” the schools go without adequate funding, the streets get more pot-holed by the hour, and public health services are on very short rations.

    Let’s hear it for the bourgeoisie!

    The NFL can truly relish in the role it plays—along with the US DOD and the “Tri-Laterals”—in “making the world safe for monarchy.”

    Bob R
    Missouri, USA
    20 September 2012

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/sep2012/corr-s22.shtml

    Like

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