NFLRA contests “scab official” will be threat to player safety and game experience
The NFLRA claims that its officials are not receiving their due cut as prescribed by the CBA. The NFLRA noted that each team of the 32 teams will have to chip in $100,000 to meet the amount. However, the NFL remains adamant that they have made suitable offer which gives the NFLRA officials a raise between 5 to 11 percent. According to the NFL’s proposal, a fifth season NFLRA official who collected $115,000 last season will be eligible for $183,000 in the 2018 season.
However, following the lockout all negotiations have been put on the hold.
"Lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everyone," said NFLRA president Scott Green. "We don't want to be locked out. We want to get back to the table and get this resolved."
To overcome the situation, the NFL has decided to take-in new replacement referees for training, which the NFLRA contests aren’t even Division I college qualified, and will be trained in “scab clinics” by substandard trainers who could pose a threat to player’s safety. One of such training sessions begins at Dallas this weekend.
"Let me just summarize and say the folks that are going to be on the field are not NFL-quality officials,” said Scott Green. ''The concern I would have is in the player safety…If calls aren't being made there will probably be additional things going on out on the field and that potentially could lead to a lot of player-safety issues.”
NFLRA officials like lead counsel Mike Arnold are still deliberating why a money-maker such a s the NFL itself, that brings in revenue of $9.3 billion annually and is further expected to grow to $12 to $14 million be willing to handover the safety and well being of players as well as the integrity of the game into the inexperienced hands of scab officials.
However, the most devastating long-term financial drawback from the NFL’s current proposal will weigh heavily on the NFLRA official’s retirement packages. Mike Arnold expressed that the NFL intends “to freeze, then terminate” the pension plan.
The NFL is aiming at a structured contribution retirement package that will pay each retiree on annual basis, starting with the minimal amount of $16,500 to further increase to $23,000. The retirement package will also include other investment facilities and the advantage of medical insurance.
The NFLRA continues to strive in the face of adversity as Ed Hochuli and 25 other NFLRA officials who took part in the player safety forum on Tuesday have indicated their intention to prepare themselves for the coming season even with limited resources due to lockout.
"Speaking on behalf of all 121 NFL officials, we take a great deal of pride in our professionalism and integrity,” declared Ed Hochuli, “and I'm proud to say that when the league shut us down from all communication and training back in mid-May, our guys picked it up and have done it themselves,'' declared Ed Hochuli.