The current use of replacement referees has drawn a lot of scrutiny after just one pre-season game in the books. I thought the officiating for the Hall of Fame game last Sunday was unacceptable. There appears to be now resolution to the current labor rift between the referees union and the NFL, and the league seems content at this point to move forward with replacements.
It was announced this week that the NFL will employee the first ever female referee, Shannon Eastin. This announcement was met with an announcement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that Ms.Eastin would not be the last female to join the officiating ranks of the NFL. I have no problem with that statement, but the rhetoric in the ongoing labor situation grew a little more ugly this afternoon regarding the hiring of Ms. Eastin.
The NFL Referees Association is now calling into question her eligibility of of being an onfield official. The labor group dug up dirt on Ms. Eastin and found out that she was a participant in the 2007 World Series of Poker. Five years ago.
The NFL holds a tough line regarding gambling. The league has joined several other sports leagues in a suit filed on Tuesday this week against the State of New Jersey and their proposal to allow sports betting at various sites. The league appears to have their head stuck in the sand regarding sports wagering and claims they want to maintain the integrity of the game. Yeah.If the NFL was seriously concerned about integrity, they would reach an agreement with the fulltime referees.
The attack against Ms. Eastin intensified this afternoon. FOX Sports contributor and former NFL official Mike Pereira weighed in and suggested that the NFL has lowered their standards and in normal circumstances, she would never have passed the background check the NFL subjects officials to.
Pereira spoke to Mike Florio at Profootballtalk.com and stated, “If, in the normal background check process, this level of gambling was uncovered, the person would never have been hired.”
I understand that Mr. Pereira is now given a much larger platform with his new job with FOX. I also understand that he is trying to stand up for his fellow union member brethren, but this is ludicrous. The league seems to not have any issue with this, she’s obviously not Pete Rose or Tim Donaghy, Mr. Pereira needs to get over it.
I have no issue with Ms. Eastin participating in the World Series of Poker five years ago. What I do have issue with is the quality of the officiating the NFL is placing on the field. The crew that the NFL world saw on Sunday night was likely their top crew, and they were weak. I plan on watching 7 hours of NFL preseason games this evening and I think that football fans which were not paying attention on Sunday night, will see the drop off in officiating.
These two parties need to get a deal reached prior to the start of the regular season.
Filed under: NFL