Retired ref: Roger Goodell putting safety of players at risk
Washington, DC, United States (4E Sports) – A retired referee has criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for putting the health and safety of players at risk by utilizing replacement referees instead of working a new deal with regular officials.
“It’s incredible they could jeopardize the safety and integrity of the league. My only conclusion is that they just don’t care,” said Jerry Markbreit, a former NFL Referees Association executive director who worked 461 NFL games for 23 years before retiring in 1998.
Markbreit was serving as a trainer for veteran and new NFLRA officials until June 6, three days after talks between the league and NFLRA broke off. He claimed the league fired him and eight other former official trainers because they refused to train replacement officials.
Markbreit made the comment after Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III said that he took cheap shots from St. Louis Rams defenders that went unnoticed by replacement referees.
“These replacements miss a roughing the passer and it’s not called, the guy is going to come in and do the same thing to him again because he knows there is no penalty,” Markbreit told USA Today.
The retired official also debunked claim by Goodell that replacement referees are getting better each game, saying the game has deteriorated into chippy and goonish skirmishes mostly seen in the NHL.
Markbreit was not the only one expressing disdain over replacement referees as coaches are also dissatisfied with the way games are being officiated.
Some of them, including Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, could not contain their emotions and publicly berated replacement officials.
Shanahan was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he berated an official as the Redskins were attempting to drive for a tying touchdown in Sunday’s 38-31 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Meanwhile, Fox and Del Rio were fined $30,000 and $25,000, respectively after publicly criticizing officials.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is also being investigated by the league for grabbing the arm of an official after losing to the Baltimore Ravens.
Belichick later explained his action, saying he grabbed the official to find out whether the game-winning field goal was under review.