Recently, ThinkProgress’ Travis Waldron talked to NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Referees Association lead negotiator Mike Arnold. Waldron writes:
When it comes to compensation, the two sides don’t appear that far apart: Arnold said the union and league offers differ by $16.5 million over the 5-year collective bargaining agreement. That breaks down to roughly $100,000 per season — or a little more than $6,000 a game — for each of the league’s 32 teams. “We’re talking peanuts,” Arnold said, noting that since the last CBA was signed in 2006, NFL revenues have grown from $6.5 billion per year to $9.3 billion.
When I read Arnold’s numbers to Smith, he said, “If $100,000 per team is the only thing that’s keeping the best referees off the field and maintaining the gold standard in on-field health and safety, the National Football League should be ashamed of itself.”
And that’s just the difference between the two sides. If both sides compromise, we’re talking $3,000 per game per team, right? Regardless, it’s ridiculous that the National Football League demands so much of its fans and players but is unwilling to go the extra distance to insure that the most competent, most experienced NFL officials are on the field for Week 1.
As fans and taxpayers, we’ve invested (or been forced to invest) too much money to let profits get in the way of player safety and the integrity of the game.