By Ken Reed

NFL owners are risking the health and safety of their players by continuing to stage games with unqualified replacement officials.

And the players are calling them on it.

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) sent an open letter to all 32 team owners on Sunday. A couple excerpts from the letter:

“The decision to lock out officials with more than 1,500 years of collective NFL experience has led to a deterioration of order, safety and integrity,” the letter stated. “This affirmative decision has not only resulted in poor calls, missed calls and bad game management, but the combination of those deficiencies will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build.

“As players, we see this game as more than the ‘product’ you reference at times. You cannot simply switch to a group of cheaper officials and fulfill your legal, moral, and duty obligations to us and our fans. You need to end the lockout and bring back the officials immediately.”

NFL owners are screwing the fans with an inferior product while charging full prices. That’s consumer fraud.

Moreover, whether it’s driven by greed (a safe bet when the NFL owners are involved) or simple bullheadedness, what’s unmistakably clear is that NFL owners are endangering the safety of the players that produce their product by using second-rate replacement officials.

The financial differences between the regular NFL game officials and the NFL owners in their labor dispute is a mere pittance relative to the enormous increases in revenue NFL owners have enjoyed the last few years.

It’s past time that the owners stopped this immoral charade and put the regular NFL officials back on the field.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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