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Digging In For The Long Haul: No End In Sight In Ongoing NFL Referee Lockout
Published July 26, 2012
LOCKOUT LIKELY TO AFFECT THE GAME: Former NFL VP/Officiating Mike Pereira, who now serves as Fox Sports' NFL and college football rules analyst, said of the lockout, "If they don’t reach an agreement, I think it will affect the game enormously. We’re constantly hearing from the league about player safety and the integrity of the game, but they both will be compromised. They’re replacing the best in the world with some guys who do high school games? They’re going to see speed like they’ve never seen before. ... We’ll see more mistakes, more injuries, if it goes on any length of time." He added, "There’s more animosity now and it involves pensions. ... The league wants to do what industries in peril do, switch to a 401(k). But I think we all find it difficult to look at it and say the NFL is in peril" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/25). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said it is "not going to be good for the league" to use replacement refs. Paige: "We’re already dependent on too many instant replays. These guys are not going to make the same calls." SB Nation’s Bomani Jones asked, "Do you remember the disaster piece that was replacement officiating in basketball?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/24).
LET THE OFFSEASON END ALREADY: SI's King notes the NFL in the past six months "has had to confront so many vexing problems that you wonder, Is anybody happy out there?" In addition to the ongoing referee lockout, the Saints' bounty issue "isn't going away" and the police blotter "has been filled with NFL names," as 29 players have been arrested since Super Bowl XLVI. Also, nearly 3,000 former players and family members are "suing the NFL, claiming it knew about the dangers of head trauma and concussions and failed to disclose the risks," and former NFLer Junior Seau's suicide in May "raised further questions about the well-being of retired players." NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara said, "I'm a little surprised and a little disappointed at the number of issues we're facing." King notes none of the issues are "going to break the league," but the "bigger the game gets, the bigger the potential pitfalls it faces" (SI, 7/30 issue).