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Goodell Notes Time Is Running Out For Ref CBA, Says Replacements Doing "Credible Job"
Published August 24, 2012
ALWAYS IN THE PLANS? NFLRA General Counsel Michael Arnold on Thursday indicated that the NFL has "‘predetermined’ there will be a lockout.” He also said that there is “no sign that either side will resume talks to head off the work stoppage heading into the regular season.” Arnold: “The league has apparently predetermined that they're going to keep us locked out until the third or fourth week of the regular season. Their strategy has always been lockout. We feel they've had a strategy from the beginning to lock us out.” Arnold said that there have been “no negotiations since July 27.” Arnold: "I've been with this group for 18 years, and they are more united and stronger in their position than I've ever seen them" (NEWSDAY, 8/24). Arnold added that the league was “proposing adding more crews without increasing the pool of money from which they would be paid -- in effect asking existing officials to pay for the newcomers.” He said that the locked-out refs “weren’t sitting idly.” Arnold: “Our guys have been doing extensive training. They’ve been doing video review. They’ve been doing rules review and rules testing” (USA TODAY, 8/24). Meanwhile, ESPN's Chris Mortensen said he has heard "many people say it’s an insult to everybody’s intelligence” the claims made by the league and some owners that they "see no difference between the replacement officials and the regular referees” ("NFL 32," ESPN2, 8/23).
MIXED MESSAGES? In DC, Deron Snyder writes at a time when it is "preaching player safety, toning down the violence, and assuaging fears about football’s consequences, the NFL doesn’t mind using replacement officials.” Players are “bigger, stronger and faster than ever,” yet the league is “satisfied to rely on officials who aren’t even top-level in college.” The replacements are “doing the best they can.” But no matter “how good they were wherever they come from, they can’t excel on the fly, surrounded by similarly-inexperienced officials.” The league is “delusional if it thinks seven-person crews working their first NFL games will perform as well as crews with years of NFL background.” Football is “dangerous enough when played within the rules.” If players are “allowed to stretch the boundaries,” then the game could “revert to the anything-goes standard of decades past” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/24).