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SBD/August 31, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Focus On NFL Replacement Refs To Intensify With Regular Season Start
Published August 31, 2012
THE LEAGUE MAKING A STATEMENT HERE: In Boston, Christopher Gasper writes, “Tossing a false-start flag at the NFL for its plan to use replacement officials to start the season is warranted.” After years of “telling us how uniquely qualified their regular officials were, the NFL is basically trying to sell the football-consuming public the idea that anybody with a whistle and a dream can officiate games.” Gasper: "As long as the NFL employs ersatz whistleblowers, it is defaulting on its own obligation to live up to the commish’s words. It’s also engaging in hypocrisy.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “issued a gag order earlier this summer on coaches and players criticizing the replacement refs.” Gasper: “No complaining about your unsafe working conditions, guys” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/31). In Phoenix, Kent Somers writes, “The NFL is being hypocritical. Again.” League officials “talk about what a privilege it is to play and work in the NFL, and how those who work under the league's shield should be careful not to tarnish the brand.” But the NFL “looks cheap in this stand-off.” Somers: “Get to the negotiating table. Get a deal done” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/31). SportsNet N.Y.'s Sal Licata said, "Hopefully, it’s just one week and then the NFL learns the lesson, and then the outcry from that point forward gets the real officials back on the field because right now it’s a joke” (“The Wheelhouse,” SportsNet N.Y., 8/30). But in Providence, Jim Donaldson writes, “I don’t think it’ll be the end of the world … if the replacement refs have to work for a week, or two, or even three.” He adds, “It’s not like anybody’s paying anything to watch the refs” (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 8/31).
SURVEY SAYS: SPORTING NEWS recently surveyed 148 NFL players and asked them to rate Goodell's performance as commissioner. A total of 12 called his work “excellent,” while 89 said it was “satisfactory” and 38 described it as “poor.” Bills LB Arthur Moats said, “Satisfactory. When you’re looking for a guy to be a judge in every situation and every case, you’re never going to be perfect. But I feel like he’s doing a pretty good job.” But Jaguars CB and NFLPA rep Rashean Mathis said, “Poor. I think we as players feel it’s more of a dictatorship than a democracy. Are we working together as a whole in the NFL or is it just one man deciding everything?” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/30).