NFL Refs Group to Players: Criticism Crosses the Line

The leader of the NFL Referees Association says that a series of recent incidents in which players made personal attacks against individual referees was a cause for concern for his members, and that he would work with the league’s players association to mitigate the problem.

The organization that represents the National Football League’s referees wants the league’s players to show them a little more respect.

The head of the NFL Referees Association described as cause for concern the recent spate of incidents in which stars for the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Jacksonville Jaguars criticized NFLRA members. And while the league was quick to fine those players, NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green said the incidents, which dovetailed into personal attacks, went too far.

He added that he hoped to work with NFL Players Association Executive Director De Smith to figure out a solution to the problem.

“They got all fined, and yeah, that’s very concerning to us,” Green told USA Today. “That’s different than what we’ve seen in the past, and it’s definitely something that I want to talk to De Smith about with the players association: What is it we need to do about that?”

Part of the problem, Green added, was that the complaints often got more attention than the fact that, in the end, the calls were correct.

“That, to us, is equally as important, that the public knows that just because somebody complained and said it was horrible and the guy is horrible and he shouldn’t be on the field—it’s important that word gets back out that, well, just so you’re aware, we reviewed those plays and (the penalties) were there,” said Green, a former referee himself.

Green defended the referees, noting that the success rate of their calls was in the high 90 percent range. But some media outlets, such as NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, responded with skepticism.

“But whether Green likes it or not, plenty of players just don’t think the officials are good enough,” the site’s Michael David Smith wrote. “The complaints are unlikely to stop unless the officiating improves.”

(Jordan Sangerman/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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