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SBD/September 26, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Players Voice Their Displeasure Over League's Use Of Replacement Officials
Published September 26, 2012
WORRIES EXIST ON BOTH SIDES: Giants DE Justin Tuck said every player in the NFL "worries about" the referee situation. Tuck: "I know players are on eggshells and the replacement referees are on eggshells because they know that everything that they say, whether it's right or wrong, is going to be scrutinized. I look at it as a lose-lose situation” (NEWSDAY, 9/26). Redskins CB Josh Wilson, referencing the end of his team’s game Sunday against the Bengals, said, “I don’t understand the calls. I don’t really know what to do anymore. It makes it hard to be able to perform at a high level when you don’t know what’s legal, what’s illegal. I don’t know any more. It’s confusing” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/25). Patriots QB Tom Brady: “I see more pileups and punching and all that crap that goes on before and after plays, and pileups and stuff like that then there would probably normally be, and maybe guys are taking advantage a bit of the guys. From my standpoint, for me it's been business as usual” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 9/25).
SMITH SPEAKS OUT: NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith addressed the referee situation on "CBS This Morning" today and said it primarily is a "health and safety issue" for the union. Smith: "We’re a group of players who have an extremely short playing career, about 3.5 years on average, and we’re an industry where our injury rate is 100% on the workplace. So the way we look at this issue is a little bit beyond just a bad call on a Monday night. The referees on the field are the first responders for health and safety for a group of players where we know that virtually every player in the National Football League will be injured at work.” He noted there are plenty of owners who "believe that it’s important for our players to work safer." Smith: "Where we are right now is inconsistent with that. When you take a group of officials who have a collective experience of 1,500 years off the field and you replace them with a group of replacements that don’t have that experience, our players know that the work place today is less safe than it was with the real officials.” However, he adamantly said he would not advise players to sit out games until the league signs a new CBA with the refs. Smith: "I’m not sure that it’s ever a good idea to punish our fans because we’re mad at the owners. What we are going to do is make sure that the NFL honors its obligation and keep the workplace safe. We’ll take every legal action that we can and what we need” ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 9/26).
BI-PARTISAN EFFORT: USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces reports politicians across the land "have joined in chorus to call for an end to the NFL lockout of its regular officials." President Obama yesterday said, "I've been saying for months we've got to get our refs back." Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan, who is from Wisconsin, "lamented the controversial touchdown call" during Packers-Seahawks. Ryan during a campaign stop in Ohio said, "Did you guys watch the game last night? I mean, give me a break. It's time to get the real refs back" (USA TODAY, 9/26). White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama watched Monday's game and Obama "thinks there was a real problem" with the call at the end of the game. Mitt Romney said, "I sure would like to see some experienced referees, with NFL experience, come back on to the NFL playing fields" (AP, 9/26). Former President Bill Clinton: "We need to get the strike over and get more experienced people in there" (NYTIMES.com, 9/25). Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt "lodged a complaint" with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over the Packers' "controversial loss" (GREENBAYPRESSGAZETTE.com, 9/25).
CALLS FLOOD LEAGUE OFFICE: In Tacoma, Adam Lynn reports "more than 70,000 voice mails about the game were left at NFL headquarters Tuesday." Most of them were "presumably calling for the league to settle its differences with its locked-out referees and send the replacement refs who've overseen the first three weeks of the season to the showers" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 9/26).