NFLPA: focus is on safety, players are not 'the product'

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, released a statement to NFL players on Tuesday regarding the ongoing referee lockout. Smith told players that by locking out the referees, the NFL owners are jeopardizing the health and safety of the players, saying "this decision to remove over 1,500 years of collective experience has simply made the workplace less safe."

Smith went on to say that it is the NFL's responsibility to provide as safe a workplace as possible and went after the league's approach to the lockout:

"The League will want fans, the media and sponsors to talk only about ‘the product' on the field. We are not product."

The referee lockout situation may have reached its boiling point on Monday night, when a controversial call allowed the Seattle Seahawks to defeat the Green Bay Packers. Since that game, the league and the referees are reported to have scheduled a meeting for Tuesday.

Although there is little Smith and the NFL can do, he closed his statement by saying, "We are actively reviewing any and all possible actions to protect you."

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