Referees: you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.
That statement is all too real with the current situation going on in the National Football League. However, maybe I should rephrase that.
Referees: you can’t live with replacement officials, and you definitely can’t live without the real officials who are just as greedy as the NFL association itself. Does that sound better?
What happened to the love of the game? We sure aren’t seeing the love with the current referee lockout. So where do we find it? The NHL? Oh, right, that’s in a lockout too. What about the NBA? Well, I don’t think too many of those fans want to take a trip down memory lane to 2011.
Needless to say, those who are professionally involved in national leagues – whether they be players, refs, commissioners, etc. – really aren’t showing they are in it for the game. It’s all about the money, or in most cases, more money.
Here are just a few specifics on what this referee lockout is about. First, there is the upset refs who want better benefits and more pay. Now, most of us who have worked for a union understand that part time employees do not receive full time benefits – even if you are 15 minutes away from full time hours.
But, these referees aren’t just 15 minutes away. No, they work 16 games in roughly a 17 week period, at about three hours a game – give, not take, apparently a couple extra hours if you are a replacement ref – and tack on a couple few hours a week for travel, “required” fitness time, and training on rules. You’re looking at roughly 115 – 130 hours in 17 weeks – play along with the numbers. An average full-time employee works close to 4,800 hours in 17 weeks, not including travelling or overtime.
So, when people say these men – because females apparently are only good enough as replacements – who make anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000 a season for only working a whopping 130 hours deserve more money and benefits, I say, “America, get yourself together.”
Now, not to say I’m siding with the commissioner and his egotistical excuses as to why he won’t pinch a couple of extra dollars to give the poor zebras a break. If the past three weeks of the NFL regular season hasn’t proven how innately precious the regular referees are to the integrity of the game, then I don’t know what will.
I am too afraid to think that it would be a potentially serious or career ending injury. I’m hoping for a fan boycott instead, but realistically that just won’t happen, because for fans there is this little thing called Fantasy Football.
Secondly, league owners want to decrease their funding obligation by 60 per cent via cutting back on what the NFLRA’s benefits. Why?
Unless that money is going directly into charity, education funds or research for sending someone to Mars then I disagree. Cutting back on the already most under paid officials in a national league is disrespectful. We’ve seen how important they really are to this game.
It’s not an easy road to becoming an NFL ref, and it sure is not easy when you’re standing in front of thousands of booing fans who are too incompetent – I being one of them – to understand the thousands of rules involved.
These men deserve more respect. The replacement refs with their botched calls, offerings of extra time outs, and their inability to mark a ball correctly, are destroying the game.
I want to extend my gratitude to the replacements for stepping up; however, you were destined to fail. Your inexperience was taken for granted and that is not your fault.
But please, for the fans, do us all a favour and step away from the field. Maybe if you leave, something will have to be done and we can get back to regular football.