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Opinion: The NFL Is Ruining Its Own Brand With Cheap Replacement Refs

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An NFL referee (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

An NFL referee (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Buck Starts Here

Hey America, want to know what a company looks like when it fires all its experienced workers and hires on cheap replacements?

Want to know what a company that is trying to save a relatively modest amount of money on an excel spreadsheet looks like when it is being penny wise and pound foolish?

Watch last night’s embarrassment of a game between Green Bay and Seattle.

Too be fair to both teams, the players played well. Seattle’s defense was awesome in the first half, Green Bay made excellent adjustments. The teams played close the whole way.

But the game will forever be remembered as the game that was decided by terrible, unprofessional refereeing.

It was so embarrassing that the networks that pay huge dollars to cover the NFL were blasting and mocking the league.

Why?

Because the owners decided that qualified professionals that are integral to the success of the National Football League should be locked out.

The owners gamble was that the professional referees they have employed were easily replaceable, after all nobody goes to a game or turns on the TV to watch the refs.

The referees are seeking a little more compensation for adding value to a hugely profitable enterprise. The owners have set out to show them how wrong they are.

But it turns out the refs were right. Their training and professionalism is integral to the success of the NFL.

Now people may tune in to watch the NFL equivalent of a car crash. Or, like wrestling, watch to see coaches and players attack refs.

But if that happens, the NFL loses what has made it so valuable: its brand.

This is an excellent case study in how everyone that contributes to the success of a professional sports league or a company should be valued for their professionalism and experience.

Even lifelong opponents of labor unions are siding with the locked-out refs over the owners. Writers at the National Review and the union busting Governor of Wisconsin suddenly are siding with a union.

Last night’s game was not an isolated incident. For three weeks the judges on the field have not been up to the task.

But this is about more than just a game. This is about a trend in our national economy where trained professionals are cast aside for inferior workers.

They are fired for cheaper workers or their jobs are sent overseas. Too often, our companies now believe their success depends on treating workers like a commodity.

And if anyone went to watch a company that junked its experienced workers to cut costs or tuned in to see it operate on TV they would likely be reminded of last night’s game and long for the days when experienced workers made products we can be proud of.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.

 

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