Scott Cordischi On Sports: Rooke Wrong On Refs!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I like my colleague John Rooke. He’s a heck of a broadcaster and sports writer and, more importantly, he’s a good guy. But I have to take issue with Mr. Rooke on his latest piece entitled “Replacement Referees Are Not The Problem” here on GoLocalProv.com.
The gist of the column was that the replacement officials in the NFL are not the ones to blame for all of the controversy that unfolded in the NFL over the weekend and Monday night. Truth be told, I agree with John on that point.
But he also suggested that the scrutiny they are under somehow taints them and everyone who referees or officiate’s sports at any level. If you do, he said that you’re now a “second-class citizen.” I disagree.
The poor performance of the NFL’s replacement officials does not make me think any less of the refs that officiate the high school football games that I broadcast each Friday night on OSN. Nor does their performance make me think any less of the officials that work the Brown University football games that I broadcast on Saturday’s. I don’t think that the men who umpire my son’s fall-ball baseball games at Slater Park in Pawtucket are “second-class citizens.” And, to be honest with you, I don’t think any less of the actual replacement refs themselves after their horrendous showing over the weekend.
However, I do think less of one group of officials today and that’s the “real” NFL officials who are holding out for a new contract.
Maybe it’s me, but in today’s struggling economy where unemployment remains high, I can’t seem to muster up even an ounce of sympathy for a group of men who get paid boatloads of money for performing a part time job. And I sure as hell don’t believe that they deserve to have a pension for being an NFL official!
Most, if not all of these men have full time jobs outside of football. They are lawyers, dairy farmers, teachers, entrepreneurs. As such, most of them probably have a pension that they contribute to or a 401K. Why, then, should the NFL guarantee them a pension?
The NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) claims that the league’s revenues have ballooned to more than $9 billion annually since their last agreement and they want their piece of the pie.
Fair enough, but the league is offering it in the form of substantial pay raises that could pay experienced officials more than $200,000 annually by 2018. You read that right - $200,000 a year for working 16 Sundays out of the year!
And that’s not all. In lieu of the NFL’s proposed pension freeze, it has agreed to increase contributions to their 401K’s. Why are they even getting pensions or 401K’s? Have they ever heard of the three letters I-R-A? Contribute to your own retirement plans you greedy bums!
I have a part time job broadcasting Brown University football and basketball games. That involves broadcasting approximately 40 games and 20 coach’s shows on the radio and traveling all over the country to do it. Do I expect a pension from Brown University for my part time employment? Absolutely not!
I’m sure some of you reading this are wondering why I am siding with the billionaire NFL owners in this feud. My answer is simple. They ARE the business owners. They ARE the ones taking the risk by owning the business. Therefore, they should be able to pocket as much of the profits as they would like to after fairly taking care of their employees. And, in the case of our hold-out referees, they are more than fairly compensated by the NFL.
If you’re going to blame the NFL for something, blame them for not better preparing the replacement refs for officiating their games because, clearly, some of them are in over their heads. Knowing that a lockout was a real possibility, the league should have spent the last year finding adequate replacements that should have been thoroughly trained. Not that it would have been a seamless transition from the real refs to the replacement refs, but it certainly would have been smoother that what we have witnessed thus far.
So let’s place the blame where it belongs – on the greedy group of men that is the locked-out officials. We have an unemployment rate of nearly 11% in Rhode Island and I’m supposed to feel sorry for them? I don’t think so!
-As poorly as Sunday night’s game in Baltimore was officiated, Bill Belichick should be more concerned with the fact that his team can’t close out big games. Whether it’s the defense giving up the lead or the offense not being able to move the ball and run the clock, this has been a problem for a few years now. Both Super Bowl losses to the New York Giants, the infamous 4th & 2 game in 2009 at Indianapolis and Sunday night in Baltimore are all prime examples of what I’m talking about.
-Memo to Green Bay Packers’ defensive back M.D. Jennings: KNOCK THE BALL DOWN!!!!!
-I laugh when I hear NFL fans say that they will no longer watch football as long as the replacement refs are still out there. Really? Then why are the league’s television ratings at an all-time high? NFL football is like a drug and American sports fans are addicted to it. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.
-Best Tweet of the week comes from Green Bay Packers’ offensive lineman TJ Lang: “Got (expletive) by the refs..Embarrassing. Thanks nfl!” He later tweeted “(Expletive) it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”
-Best Tweet of the week #2 comes from Patriots’ linebacker Brandon Spikes who tweeted “Can someone tell these (expletive) zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work!!!!”
-Do you think Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was a little fired up after that last second controversial win over the Packers Monday night? Or, as Pete sould say, "pumped & jacked?"
-Remember that great feeling of optimism we had about the so-called new and improved Patriots defense after their week one performance at Tennessee? Today? Not so much.
-Speaking of the Patriots defense, can somebody tell me how Devon McCourty can go from having a sensational rookie season which resulted in a Pro Bowl appearance to the inept cornerback we have seen the last season and a half?
-I guess Wes Welker can still play, right Bill?
-The NY Jets use of Tim Tebow just isn’t working. As many questions as there still might be about Mark Sanchez, he should be allowed to take every snap on offense each week no matter where the Jets are on the field.
-I know it’s tough to get people to go to Fenway Park these days and tune into Red Sox baseball on NESN, but celebrating the 8th anniversary of the 2004 World Championship team Tuesday night? Really? The 8th anniversary?
-Although I must admit that it’s always good to see Pedro Martinez. The man has a magnetism and ora about him that very few pro athletes have.
-If I had bet my hard-earned money on the Green Bay Packers Monday night and lost it on that call by the replacement refs, I’d be furious right now! That should be exhibit “A” as to why it’s not a great idea to gamble.
-Am I the only one in Rhode Island looking forward to NEXT year’s PC-URI men’s basketball game? Given what Dan Hurley and his staff have coming in for 2013 and PC’s impending addition of Ricky Ledo and Kris Dunn, that could be real exciting!
-While I am not a Notre Dame fan, I do think that college football is better when the Irish are good which is certainly the case this year.
-When Snoop Dog is taking to the airwaves telling the NFL to bring the real refs back, you know that the league has a problem.
-If you had the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers all at (1-2) and the New Orleans Saints at (0-3) through the first three weeks of the NFL season, you’re a much smarter man than I am!
-Celtics’ fans have to love newcomer Jason Terry who said Tuesday, “my mission is to kill. Whoever that is, whether it’s the Heat, whether it’s the Lakers. Hopefully both. That’s my mission and that’s what I’m here to do.”
-Patriots owner Bob Kraft was heralded as the one NFL owner who was responsible for expediting an end to the players lockout last year. Will he be the one to take the lead with the locked out officials too?
-While I will be rooting for the United States in this weekend’s Ryder Cup competition at Medinah, my gut tells me that European camaraderie and chemistry may trump American talent in this year’s competition. That, and the red-hot Rory McIlroy who has more than just the “luck of the Irish” going on right now.