NFL: Players call for referee agreement

NFL players have written to team owners calling for them to end the current stalemate with referees as replacement officials continue to struggle.

NFL News: Referees

Replacement referees have been taking charge of all NFL games after owners and the usual officials could not agree on terms over a new deal.

Unfortunately, the new officials have at times struggled with the speed of the NFL, and a number of players and coaches have complained about missed calls.

Now, the players union - the NFLPA - has published a memorandum calling for an end to the referee lockout as it continues to have a negative impact on the game.

"The NFL Players Association Executive Committee is calling on you to end the lockout of our referees," the memorandum, aimed at NFL owners, said when published on the NFLPA website. "We believe there is substantial evidence that you have failed in your obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible.

"Your decision to lock out officials with more than 1,500 years of collective NFL experience has led to a deterioration of order, safety and integrity.

"This affirmative decision has not only resulted in poor calls, missed calls and bad game management, but the combination of those deficiencies will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build.

"As we predicted and explained to you weeks ago, the removal of the veteran officials from regular season games left a group of your replacements who have proved to be incapable of keeping pace with the speed of the game.

"Coaches and players have complained of numerous errors and failures including: erratic and missed calls on egregious holds and hits, increased skirmishes between players and confusion about game rules.

"Many replacements have lost control of games due to inexperience and unfamiliarity with players and rules."

The NFLPA accused the owners of being greedy in not agreeing new terms with the officials, and as such they have put player safety in jeopardy for a relatively small amount of money.

"It is lost on us as to how you allow a Commissioner to cavalierly issue suspensions and fines in the name of player health and safety yet permit the wholesale removal of the officials that you trained and entrusted to maintain that very health and safety," continued the NFLPA statement.

"It has been reported that the two sides are apart by approximately $60,000 per team. We note that your Commissioner has fined an individual player as much in the name of "safety." Your actions are looking more and more like simple greed.

"As players, we see this game as more than the "product" you reference at times. You cannot simply switch to a group of cheaper officials and fulfil your legal, moral, and duty obligations to us and our fans. You need to end the lockout and bring back the officials immediately.

"We are all men who love and respect this game and believe that it represents something beyond just money. For our teammates, our coaches and our fans who deserve better, vote to end this lockout now."

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