The NFL announced earlier today that the regular season would kick off with replacement refs running the show. It’s possible that the NFL sent the memo to all 32 teams in an effort to get the full-time referees to respond and if that is the case it worked. The NFL Referees Association issued a statement and they are ready to negotiate:
We are not surprised based on Ray Anderson’s statements yesterday that the NFL was not going to reach out to us. However, this is consistent with the NFL’s negotiating strategy which has been “take it or leave it” and lock them out. It now appears the NFL is willing to forego any attempt to reach a deal in the last seven (7) days before opening night.
It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field. Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go.
If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves.
No matter what, the NFL needs to pay these refs. It would be horrible for the game to enter the season with replacements running the show. They’ve been dreadful in the preseason and I’d hate to see games decided by refs when they actually matter. Get the best of the best back on the field.