Last summer, NFL football fan endured the owner’s lockout of the players, but the game recovered. This offseason, with much less fanfare, professional NFL referees are being locked out and there are just 18 days remaining until the first preseason football game. After talks broke down in early June, the two sides have not had any talks and now it appears that bitter feelings on behalf of the officials are starting to surface.
Scott Green, the president of the NFL Referees Association seems to think the owners lockout is part of their strategy as ownership prepares to move forward with replacement officials during the stalemate.
Quoted on the NFL’s website, NFL.com, Green has said, “Lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everyone. We don’t want to be locked out. We want to get back to the table and get this resolved.”
The NFL is quoted as saying, “We only began the process of hiring replacements when the NFLRA told us of their intention to have it’s members authorize the union leadership to call a strike.” The league states they began hiring replacement officials last month and plan to have crews ready to go for the first preseason game in Canton, Ohio in just 18 days.
Both sides in this debate have waged a pretty bitter war of words, which has basically gone unnoticed by many in the sports media. It is very possible that the lockout could linger into the start of the regular season, and replacement officials could have an impact on the outcome of some NFL games which come down to the wire. Seven weeks remain until the start of the regular season, when the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants in a prime time contest.
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