The NFL has reportedly informed teams that they will use replacement referees when the NFL season begins in just over a week.
This won’t be the first time the league has entered a year with replacement refs. They did so in 2001, but settled with the union after just a week.
The referees' union released the following statement in response to the news.
"We are not surprised based on Ray Anderson’s statements yesterday that the NFL was not going to reach out to us. However, this is consistent with the NFL’s negotiating strategy which has been "take it or leave it" and lock them out. It now appears the NFL is willing to forego any attempt to reach a deal in the last seven (7) days before opening night.
It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field. Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go.
If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves."