The NFL has opted to lock out its referees and hire replacement referees. These referees will likely be coming from a couple of places. They may be retired NFL referees and college referees from non-BCS conferences since those referees trained by and affiliated with NFL officials.
These referees are being called everything from “amateur referees” to “scabs.” The things being said about them are ranging from “they can’t be any worse than the other guys” to “they’re going to ruin the game!” These are over reactions and under reactions to be sure, but this is an issue that matters.
It just seems that Roger Goodell and the NFL are speaking out of both sides of their mouth. Is player safety important? If not then replace the referees. The players will adjust to the way the game would be officiated and the fans just want to watch football so they will too. However, if player safety is important, if these lawsuits that are piling up from former players mean anything at all; isn’t it worth it to make sure that guys don’t get concussions and that those types of injuries are avoided? Quite frankly, it is. This is about as black and white as issues get. Either the league cares about player safety or they don’t. In the fight for player safety good referees are key.
Referees don’t make a fraction of what players make. When you consider what the referees mean to player safety, the thing the league allegedly cares about, does an 8% increase in salary is that much? The refs make thousands of dollars per game as opposed to the millions that players like Brady, Brees, and Rodgers make.
The league is offering a 2.5% increase and that’s not just weak, and unfair, it’s also extremely hypocritical.