The NFL has officially locked out the NFL Referees Association as the two sides are negotiating a new CBA and the NFL Players Association has backed the referees. The NFLPA issued a statement on Monday on the NFL's decision to hire and train replacement referees in case they can't come to an agreement with the NFLRA.
The NFL Players Association is concerned about the NFL's decision to lock out professional referees and recruit scabs to serve as referees in NFL games for the 2012 season.
In 2011, the NFL tasked officials with increased responsibilities in protecting player health and safety, and its search for scabs undermines that important function.
Professional athletes require professional referees, and we believe in the NFL Referees Association's trained first responders. The NFLPA will continue to monitor the league's actions in this situation.
Notice the use of the word "scabs" twice.
The NFLPA clearly wouldn't be down with replacement referees. As the process develops, I wouldn't be surprised to hear the NFLPA investigating a grievance against the league since they identify referees as an important part in the player health and safety initiatives.