Just two months into the job, new NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) Executive Director, Scott Green is speaking out on behalf of the officials and against public criticism by players and coaches.
Green told USA Today that he wants to speak to the NFL players union about ways to curb the post-game diatribes against the officiating. This year, the post-game criticisms have taken on a more profane and personal context where players openly question the officials’ integrity and ability. The NFL has consistently fined players and coaches for their outbursts.
While Green approves of reprimands and fines, he says the league needs to back the officials more.
“We appreciate that the league reprimands guys for doing that, but we also like it to be known that in those instances, all those 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.”
While instant replay helps officials get calls right, the high-tech slow motion images make officials’ mistakes easier to spot and fans are less apt to forgive officiating errors. Green worries that the vitriol directed at NFL officials will trickle down to the amateur levels and will drive young people away from officiating.
Here’s hoping for a positive dialogue between the NFLRA and the NFLPA and the personal attacks on the officials’ credibility and ability comes to an end.