The National Football League has always enjoyed the luxury of having some of the best officials in sports.
However, things could be real troublesome in the near future. The Associated Press filed this report that makes it sound as if the players will have to deal with the prospect of bad officiating, as negotiations between the NFL Referees Association and the league fell apart.
The NFL twice sent letters to officials that "contained inaccurate, false and incomplete information" after talks broke down this month, the complaint alleges. The charge, filed Tuesday, says the league violated the National Labor Relations Act by bypassing the NFLRA and trying to "undermine" support among members.
Negotiations between the NFL and the referees ended June 3 after two mediation attempts that followed nine bargaining sessions since October. The league has said it would start hiring and training replacement officials.
Sports Illustrated pointed out the potential pitfalls of having replacement official, most notably that the quality of refereeing could go down, but also that the NFLPA could be put further on the alert if bad calls put their players in danger.
Now, imagine trying to learn on the fly at the highest level of competition. While the NFL contends that its backups "are professionals who officiate games at a high level and have backgrounds similar to current NFL officials," there’s no league out there that can fully prepare an official for the big-league jump.
It’s different when new officials break into the league, because they’re teamed with experienced and veteran crews. Throwing an entire team of rookies into the fire is a different thing entirely.
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