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NFL Plans to Hire Replacement Referees

Though the NFL Lockout is, thankfully, securely in the rearview mirror for players and teams (and importantly, those of us that write about the sport), less high-profile labor strife continues. The news of late is that the league and its officials have failed to come to a new agreement for 2012 and the league is now making preparations to hire a group of replacement officials in the case they fail to come to a compromise with the Referee's union .

The league released a statement on the development, noting that "Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on a new collective bargaining agreement remain unresolved and the previous CBA has expired. In order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials. Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games."

This move, though it may lead to diminished quality in officiating, probably gives the NFL some leverage as talks are ongoing.

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