The NFL is approaching its third week of play in its first year back from the NFL lockout. Although I have yet to see an actual game, it has not gone without notice that the league is experiencing a second consecutive lockout. Whether it is noted in every highlight I see, or it is a part of every discussion on sports talk, it appears everyone has grievances with the replacement referees like a twisted inversion of the “The Replacements.”
Now, I do not have anything particularly invested in who wins or loses, what calls get made and not made (although I am an Eagles fan), it is simultaneously mind-boggling and logical that the NFL will not pay its refs. Two things are clear: the league is obscenely parading a contradiction regarding player safety; and it is also parading its power by virtually ignoring the issue.
First, how can a league which has explicitly buckled down on player safety, and received harsh criticism on its implementation of penalties and fines, neglect the officials who maintain the regulations on the field? This is clearly consistent with the NFL’s agenda once we take into account the decades of lawsuits that have been thrown at the league by retired players suffering from chronic injuries and illnesses. The league is protecting its assets on and off the field. In other words it’s protecting, its pocket books.
The NFL does not care. This simply is about money. The demand for the “real” refs is superfluous. No one is going to boycott the brand for them; be it players or fans. And all the noise this creates week in and week out only builds the brand: all publicity is good publicity.
The only reason you will care is because it affects your team. You do not care about the people just like the NFL does not. You just care about how many wins, points and yards your team can rack up – just like the NFL only cares about growing, and growing, and growing. The league has all the power and uses your quantifiably identical interests to maintain its stand.