NFL’s Union Busting Suffers Huge Setback

ike many people last night, I watched the Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and Packers and like significantly more people, I participated in a lengthy diatribe about the replacement officials costing Green Bay the game on Twitter-it was a mess

Then Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and Rick Reilly all took to the airwaves of ESPN and went in on the NFL.

Current and former players were outraged and the blown call, or “toucherception” heard ‘round the world, seems to have galvanized NFL fans to demand that the NFL bring the real refs back. Those guys may not have been perfect, but they knew the difference between a touchdown and an interception.

As I detailed in a post a couple weeks ago, the referees union isn’t asking for much. To cover all of the referees in the league, the union is requesting that owners pony up an additional $62,500 per team per year over the next seven years.

The average NFL franchise is worth $1.1 billion. That fraction is so small it almost doesn’t compute (my calculator came up with the number 5.681818…e-5). Mike Arnold, the NFL Referees Association’s counsel asserts that that the league also “intends to freeze and terminate the officials' pension plan.” So there’s that.


I have to say kudos to the self-proclaimed worldwide leader for having the cojones to go after the league for refusing to pay the referees and allowing this sham to continue. Especially considering just how deeply in bed the network is with the NFL.

Steve Young summed up the situation well last week after the refs had blown a game in less spectacular fashion.

"There's nothing that changes the demand for the NFL," he said on ESPN. "So they want to break the union or send a message to them, they don't care about player safety. It doesn't affect the desire for the game. If it affected the desire for the game, they'd come up with a few extra million dollars."

Young stopped short of saying this, so I’ll say it here. What this is, really, is the most public attempt at union busting the United States has witnessed in generations. Anyone familiar with union busting measures knows that the only way to communicate to the top brass that the public is with the workers is not to cross the picket lines.

On Twitter last night, I thought Steve Cain (@DeanofReferees), whose Twitter description calls him the top wrestling official in the Midwest, said it best:

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