The labour dispute between the NFL and the referees union is not about money.
It’s about principles.
Basically, the owners are locking out the real refs because they want to transition the referees away from their current pension plan and give them a 401k plan.
The NFL wants to contribute $2 million to the pension fund this year, whereas they contributed $5.3 million last year, according to SI’s Peter King. There are other small disputes between the refs and the owners (the NFL wants to hire some more officials, etc.), but this $3.3 million pension issue is the main sticking point, by all accounts.
$3.3 million a year is nothing to the NFL.
The real reason the owners aren’t cutting a deal is because they see the refs as part-time employees who are commodities, and shouldn’t be given cushy pension plans that are usually reserved for life-time employees.
The owners aren’t being cheap, they’re being ideological.
Whether you agree with that ideology is up to you. But the reason the replacement refs are still wreaking havoc is that the owners see violating their principles as more damaging than putting an inferior product on the field.
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