Breaking News Broncos WR Wes Welker suspended four games for use of amphetamines. ×

Aug 5, 2012; Canton, OH, USA; The whistle and uniform of NFL replacement referee Rusty Spindel before the pro football hall of fame preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

DeMaurice Smith says NFL Players could strike due to safety concerns

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated recently conducted an interview with DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association.

During the interview Smith did not rule out the possibility that the NFL’s players may strike citing safety concerns due to the low level of game management that the “replacement” officials have exhibited since being installed by the NFL during the NFLRA’s on-going work stoppage.

In America it is the employer’s obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible. We believe that if the National Football League fails in that obligation we reserve the right to seek any relief that we believe is appropriate. The NFL has chosen to prevent the very officials that they have trained, championed and cultivated for decades to be on the field to protect players and — by their own admission — further our goal of enhanced safety. That is absurd on its face.

It is Smith’s contention that the lack of quality refereeing has placed the players in harms way because the current referees lack the experience as a first responder to safety on the field.

Additionally Smith voiced concerns over the lack of objectivity to enforce the rules without sufficient training and experience.

The players on the field are members of a team where every one of our owners want to win. The owners have invested in the players, and each and every owner loves what keeps the National Football League unique among sports. And it’s two things, on any given Sunday a team could win; and every game matters. So my question to the owners is, because those two things are true, why would they ever want to leave the game in critical moments in the hands of referees that they ordinarily would never hire? I mean, If these referees were so credible, how come they hadn’t hired them before the lockout?

It appears that the NFL may have no choice but to meet the demands of the permanent officials soon, or risk mutiny from the NFL players themselves.

Last year the players were dangerously close to sitting out the 2011 season thanks to stalled negotiations with the NFL concerning the new collective bargaining agreement, but in the twelfth hour a deal was finally struck and the lockout was adverted.

Likely a similar scenario will play out as both the NFL and NFLRA wait to the very last minute to raise the white flag and find some middle ground in an effort to get the “good guys” back on the field.

Next Saints Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00at Atlanta FalconsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: DeMaurice Smith NFL NFL Referees Association NFLPA

  • louisianakid1954

    The owners invested in these players so they need to stand up for they investments they pay from thousands up to millions for these guy’s so why would you want to damage your goods or put your goods in harms way. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell don’t give a jack about owners investments all the way down to the coaches. Every owner want to win this what why you invest thousands to millions for players and you want the best of everything. Yes these players get paid for game they love to play but this don’t mean that they have to get injury because of a call that should have been called. There is know players safety Roger Goodell is a lie he need to suspend himself for lying, I hope that it don’t come to a strike so Goodell and the owners are whoever in charge need to step up to the plate.

  • Your Mammy DeMaurice

    How the heck is having the referees back going to protect players from getting hurt? How dumb do you think we are?