By Matt Green
Through the first 2 weeks of the NFL season, there have been some bad calls. Obviously, you noticed them, and I noticed them, but apparently Roger Goodell missed all the games. I’m not here to bash anyone or drag anybody’s name through the mud and certainly don’t want to get a reputation as taking cheap shots, but the time has come to give the Commish what he deserves.
A referee seems like a simple enough position, relatively speaking. It seems unheard of for a group of these officials to be locked out from the sport that they have been officiating for a long while. It’s hard to believe it has come to this.
I’m not naïve, I understand that people have differences and that not everyone agrees on everything all the time, especially when it comes to money and especially when it comes to these economic times. But, it’s not as if the NFL is lacking money. It’s not as if their merchandise and ticket sales were down a year ago (except in Jacksonville, but who really cares about Jacksonville). The point is, these guys need to get their pay and get back to work, but I will get back to that in a second.
For those that don’t know what the lockout is all about, I will explain it as well as I can. The issues start with, as always, pay. Obviously, the officials believe they are due more than what they are currently being paid on a game-by-game basis, and the NFL believes that, in these economic times, they should stick with what they were previously being compensated with.
There are other issues, such as arbitration and things that matter, but they aren’t the proverbial “big fish” that are keeping this deal from getting done. The biggest thing that is keeping the deal between the NFL and their officials unsigned is the pension plan. From what I understand, the NFL is trying to stop the pension plans at their current level and instead shift the officials’ retirement package to more of a 401k-type scenario. This is the biggest thing with the officials, because, according to them, many of their officials chose to get into the business expecting the pension plan.
Roger Goodell, meanwhile, insists that the pension is absurd because there aren’t many folks in the country who have it, and that even he doesn’t have a pension plan like the one the officials are requesting.
So there it is, the major issues in a nutshell. But why am I so fired up about Roger Goodell’s fault in all of this? I’ll spell it out right now. The first two weeks of this season have been anything but what Goodell has been preaching since he came into the Commissioner position. Goodell has always preached safety, safety, safety, and integrity of the game (see all the suspensions he has doled out) and what he’s doing right now is incredibly hypocritical.
For Goodell to sit here and preach about the safety of the game and then fail to utilize the help of the most qualified football referees on the planet, and in that way risking the safety and well-being of every single player that steps out on the field is one of the most hypocritical things that I have ever seen from a person in such high authority. It’s time someone called him on it. Goodell deserves to be removed from office for his actions, or rather lack of actions, but we will settle for a new deal with the officials.
I know it’s not easy, and I’m not saying it is. What I’m saying is that they need to get in a room, work out a deal and get back real football. We’re almost 3 weeks into the season and player safety and the integrity of the game, Goodell’s two biggest platforms since he stepped into office, have been compromised down to their very core, making you wonder if Mr. Goodell really has the best interests of the players in mind. I’m sure he does, but he needs to prove it. He needs to put his money where his mouth is, literally, and get these officials their money so we can get back to real football and protect our players.
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