Former NFL official Jerry Markbreit shared some harsh words on the league and referee lockout during a Wednesday appearance on ESPN New York. Asked about commissioner Roger Goodell's take on the replacement refs and the need to resolve the labor standoff with the NFLRA, Markbreit did not mince words.
"My personal opinion is he doesn't care about the officiating. He doesn't value the officiating."
Markbreit was one of several officials asked to train replacement referees during the offseason. There was a minor controversy when the league asked the group to return their computers and equipment after refusing to train the substitute referees. In his Wednesday interview, Markbreit recounts the event and says that the league definitely fired them.
"They said, ‘We expect you to train the replacements. We want you to be in Atlanta on this date and then Dallas on this date.' And Ben Montgomery, who's the head of our training program, said, ‘Wait a minute. We are not going to train the replacements.' They said, ‘We need a voice vote. Nobody turns the NFL down.' We took a voice vote. Everybody said no. They said, ‘In that case, you guys are fired.' They asked for our computers back and shut off our website."
He went on to express an increasingly common view in the NFL world, that the replacement referees pose a danger to the integrity of the game.
A transcript of the complete interview is available from Sports Radio Interviews.