NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologizes to fans for referees lockout
Following the reinstatement of the regular officials, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to the league’s fans for having such a prolonged delay in lifting the lockout on the regular officials. The NFL had installed the lockout on the NFLRA in June following the expiration of its labor agreement with the league.
"Obviously when you go through something like this, it's painful for everybody. Most importantly, it's painful for fans," stated Roger Goodell on Thursday following the end of the lockout. “We're sorry to have to put fans through that.”
“Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term,” added Roger Goodell, “for the right agreement for the long term."
The harmless situation Roger Goodell suggested that motivated the league towards seeking a speedy negotiation with the NFLRA, happens to none other than the officiating mess in Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The Green Bay Packers allegedly lost game due to an erroneous decision by the replacement officials on the last play that should have served the Seattle Seahawks with a penalty instead of the mind boggling touchdown verdict. The broad criticism from across the league and especially the fan base forced the NFL’s hand into reaching an agreement with the NFLRA.
Roger Goodell claimed that the NFL had already been in “intense negotiations" with the NFLRA, which finally resulted in an eight-year agreement, but Monday night’s events played a significant role in the process.
"It may have pushed the parties along," stated Roger Goodell.
The new agreement with the NFLRA will potentially serve to upgrade the level of officiating, by reducing the number of prior mistakes and adding a meaning to last three weeks’ painstaking efforts, according to Roger Goodell.
"You're always worried about the short-term impact on your brand and the long-term impact on the brand," Roger Godell explained the impact of Monday’s officiating. "Obviously this has gotten a lot of attention, and it hasn't been positive.
“It's something you have to fight through and get to the long term,” continued Roger Goodell.
The NFLRA’s eight-year labor agreement with the NFL only becomes official on Saturday after the referees signs on it, which will lead them to a significant bonus to be distributed across its 121 officials.
The NFL has agreed to pay $2.5 million in compensation to the NFLRA for the number of games (out of 19 officiating games per season) its regular officials missed due to the lockout. However, the proposal will be first voted on in Dallas before NFL hands in the check to the NFLRA. In turn, the NFLRA will be responsible for the distribution of the funds across the 121 members it deems deserving.