For many Americans August means two things: summer is slowly coming to an end, and FOOTBALL SEASON IS BACK! The Olympics may have muffled some of the buzz associated with training camp and less-than-meaningful early preseason games, but football fever is slowly picking up again. This August, much like last August, the NFL faces a work stoppage, only this time the referees decided to lockout.
The NFL Referees Association, the union that bargains on behalf of the one hundred and twenty NFL refs, is working on a new collective bargaining agreement with the league. According to the New Yorker, officials currently make $149K a year; the league has offered to ultimately raise that figure to $189K. The league also hopes to change the current retirement plan of refs to a 401(k), which the refs are against.
The league has been using replacement refs for Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason, and they have signed replacement refs through Week 3. The results have been, for the most part, a disaster (although we did get to see a woman referee a NFL game for the first time ever). Players, coaches, former refs, even the NFLRA have criticized these replacements as (basically) incompetent. Mike Pereira, the former head of officiating for the league who you may know from his work on Fox broadcasts during challenges, said the replacement refs undermine the integrity of the game. Clearly, replacements are not an ideal solution.
Considering the backlash aimed at the replacements, the league may have little choice but to heed to certain demands to get a deal finalized before the regular season. Fans may be willing to forgive mistakes made in preseason games, but missed calls to decide regular season (i.e., meaningful) games would be another headache the league would be well-advised to avoid.Tags: Law, NFL, Referees, Sports, Sports Law