The NFL and its referees continue to remain at an impasse in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, but the referees never planned to hold a strike vote. That's what the league had reportedly claimed, but the officials' counsel, Mike Allen, denied that report and said:
"In fact the NFLRA's directive to its membership was to prepare for the season and to perform each and every task assigned to them both before and after CBA expiration. This continues to be the position of the NFLRA."
With two months remaining until training camp, negotiations between the two sides -- which have already broken off after just a couple of meetings -- don't appear quite that urgent to either side. In fact, the NFL is already hiring and training replacement referees.
Training camps start in August, but working from now until the first preseason game won't get the replacements up to the same level of the veteran officials. Neither the NFL nor the referees want to see substandard officiating, but until the season draws closer, the urgency to reach a deal won't be there -- just as we saw during the 2011 NFL lockout.
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