The NFL and it’s locked out officials met in New York, but they couldn’t reach a settlement and have again ceased all talks towards resolving the current labor dispute.
“We are disappointed because it means that our members will not be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season due to the NFL’s continuing lockout,” Mike Arnold, the lead negotiator for the referees, said in a statement. “We remain willing to negotiate with the NFL in order to reach a fair agreement.
The NFLRA was locked out back in June and there has been little to no progress since then in getting a deal done. The fact that the NFL is standing behind replacements that have demonstrated they lack a proper grasp on how the game works, is mind boggling to the locked out officials and to fans around the NFL.
Replacement crews have been used throughout the entire preseason and it’s been one joke after another in terms of how a game is called. But the funny business ends when a crucial call is missed or worse yet, someone gets hurt.
The NFLRA has repeatedly cited the fact that they are specially trained in detecting and preventing concussions, and the current crews are not. This could and likely will be a major issue moving forward and it’s the main piece of leverage the NFLRA has in it’s arsenal.
Back in 2001 replacement refs were used for the first week of the season before a deal was finally reached. In 2012, that’s looking like wishful thinking. Like some locked out NBA players did, all of the officials now have part-time jobs ranging from teachers to lawyers. The refs are hunkered down for a fierce battle to get what they deserve.
One thing that could lead to a settlement are the players.
If the players begin to feel unsafe, or believe the integrity of the game is compromised, they make take a stand. That could be anything from open protests on the field to going on strike. It’s hard to believe players would forfeit pay checks on behalf of the refs, but crazier things have happened and with all the controversy surrounding player safety not only on the field but in the long term, it’s not out of the question.
No further talks have been scheduled between the NFLRA and the NFL. Only time will tell how competitive the 2012 season truly is.