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Why does the NFL fine people for criticizing officials? (1 Viewer)

KoolKat

Footballguy
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.

 
Everytime a player or coach criticizes an official, it makes it seem like the games aren't fair or are fixed. No one wants to watch a game where the officials miss every call. There's a direct correlation between fan interest and accurate officiating, so it's certainly in the NFL's best interest to not have its employees shoot themselves in the foot.

 
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
 
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
Retaliation is illegal down?
 
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.
It's a business, not a government. These players and coaches are paid employees of a multi-billion dollar business that tries to market itself to as many people as possible. They can make whatever rules and punishments as they want. Very few companies want their employees to publicly criticize the integrity of their product. Everyone in the NFL is well paid and agrees to the stipulations of their employer as a requisite of employment. If they don't like it they don't have to be employed by the NFL.
 
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
Retaliation is illegal down?
Pretty sure anywhere you sign a contract or employment agreement there is a provision that you don't talk to the media regarding company matters. It's not retaliation when you have broken a provision in the agreement. I am willing to bet this is addressed in the CBA. It's not the criticizing of officials they are getting fined for, it is how they go about doing it.
 
Yep. Pretty much every large company has their PR dept. Those are the only ones who can talk to the press about the happenings of the company. If joe schmoe employee talks to the media about their company... they will probably be fired or be written up depending on the topic.

The coaches can send game film and letters to the NFL front office on any officiating which they feel was wrong or needs to be looked at more. So they have a course of action to take. They just can go spouting off to the media. Using that course of action is the one which will get them fined, etc... by the NFL, who they work for and who has the rule in place that coaches/players can not comment on the officials to the press.

 
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
I appreciate the effort, but I do not think I am satisfied with these responses. If Joe Shmoe complains to the media that one of his co-workers isn't pulling his weight, I think said co-worker would be the victim of a firing. And Chase, does anyone seriously think football games are rigged b/c of a bad call or two? Again, players and coaches are not criticizing the NFL, they are criticizing the work of their fellow co-workers. And it is not like these people are going out of there way to complain (ie calling the local paper) they are answering questions honestly and directly. Is that the type of message we want to send? If you are honest and truthful when asked questions, you will be punished.
 
Apparently you think that anyone ought to be able to say anything at all about the organization that pays them money, and nothing should happen to them.

That is not the way the real world works, although it may be so in the world of make believe, where everyone drinks cookies and milk.

 
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
I appreciate the effort, but I do not think I am satisfied with these responses. If Joe Shmoe complains to the media that one of his co-workers isn't pulling his weight, I think said co-worker would be the victim of a firing. And Chase, does anyone seriously think football games are rigged b/c of a bad call or two? Again, players and coaches are not criticizing the NFL, they are criticizing the work of their fellow co-workers. And it is not like these people are going out of there way to complain (ie calling the local paper) they are answering questions honestly and directly. Is that the type of message we want to send? If you are honest and truthful when asked questions, you will be punished.
Every business has internal issues that they are not allowed to talk about when asked. Lawyers and doctors can't answer honestly and truthfully about their patients/clients. If they do then they get punished. Police can't answer questions honestly and truthfully sometimes. The league isn't mandating that they have to lie, just don't answer when those questions come up. Refs are not really co-workers either. They're separately employed by the NFL. They have their own union, official heads, pay scale, responsibilities/job description, code of conduct etc... There's nothing wrong league-wise with a player calling out another player in the media (there's probably lockerroom pnuishment though). That would be calling out a co-worker for not pulling their weight. Additionally, not all the calling out that the players do is accurate. If the league upholds the calls of a ref that a player criticized publicly then all the player did was slander the ref for his employer-approved job. You can't make the rule that you can whine all you want to the media and not get fined if the call was wrong, although Holmgren didn't get fined for slamming the refs in the SB and he really called them out.It's a rule in place that all players agreed to by their union contract, it's accepted by their union reps and agreed to by the voting members to be in the CBA. There are bad and close calls in every game. Do you really want a couple of emotional players slamming refs ,correctly or more often incorrectly, after every single game? There are ways in place to criticize/check and balance the refs with the league outside the media. All companies have means of doing this, most of them just don't have as much media coverage as the NFL. Quite frankly if they were allowed to slam refs consistently and without punishment it would turn into a crybaby, sore loser league that will be embarrassing to watch.A lot of people seem to think that being in the NFL carries the same protections and rights as being a citizen. It doesn't. It's a business with it's own rules that are legal, contractually obligating and agreed upon by both sides. Every business has it's own rules that you abide by or you get punished or you don't work there anymore. If I work at Blockbuster I can't tell customers that my boss is an idiot without expecting repercussions. I go to his manager and tell him, that way I can't be repercussed against. Same thing here, you take care of it in the mandated way or you get punished.
 
I agree with the above regarding CBA language. Generally, a union employee would be free to offer in-bounds (i.e., not outrageous such as saying the call was deliberately bad/fixed) criticism of an employer. I'd bet large sums that the CBA prohibits such conduct, and in all likelihood, the union members were well compensated for agreeing to that prohibition.

 
Interesting to note that Palomalu has not been fined for criticizing fines as far as I know. So there seems to be some areas that are open to public criticism.

 
A couple years ago Joey Porter questioned the officiating of the Polamalu interception and was not fined. This season Steelers LB James Harrison was fined for complaining about the officials but also questioned the officials integrity. He was fined 20,000.

You can sometimes get away with complaining about a particular call but when you start wondering aloud if they had money on the game you have stepped over the line and the league is going to come down on you and rightfully so IMO.

What I don't necessarily agree with is the league going over game films and doiling out fines over plays where injuries didn't occur and flags weren't thrown.

 
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A couple years ago Joey Porter questioned the officiating of the Polamalu interception and was not fined. This season Steelers LB James Harrison was fined for complaining about the officials but also questioned the officials integrity. He was fined 20,000.

You can sometimes get away with complaining about a particular call but when you start wondering aloud if they had money on the game you have stepped over the line and the league is going to come down on you and rightfully so IMO.

What I don't necessarily agree with is the league going over game films and doiling out fines over plays where injuries didn't occur and flags weren't thrown.
Are you sure about that? I was pretty sure he was hit with $10K for that one because he said the refs were trying to rob them, or something to that effect. He wasn't just criticizing them, he accused them of outright trying to cheat the Stealers.Refs can't see everything and a lot of stuff happens too fast to see what exactly transpired. The Boldin hit wasn't flagged and although I disagree with the fine/suspension that was handed out, one of those two guys deserved it. I don't see a problem with getting guys who escape refs' notice, they are obviously far from perfect. I don't agree if they won't even tell a player why he was fined as in Ward's case. Although I can guess it's probably because his great "blocking" skill usually involves driving his forehead into the defender's facemask. But if you're trying to protect players then they need to know what they did wrong so they can avoid doing it in the future.

I don't think someone needs to get hurt for there to be a fine if the play is in the "dangerous" category. However I wish they'd be more consistent. Two Seattle players were hurt and no fines levied. Hass was hit late and low and hurt his knee. Compared to some of the other fines for QB hits it's pretty curious. Week 2 a Niner defender dove at where the WR's knee would be when he landed from a leaping catch and popped to ligaments, no fine. I'm sure there are other instances but the Seattle games are the ones I watch closest.

 
Are you sure about that? I was pretty sure he was hit with $10K for that one because he said the refs were trying to rob them, or something to that effect. He wasn't just criticizing them, he accused them of outright trying to cheat the Stealers.
My recollection is that Porter was not fined. Wikipedia backs me up on this:
"The whole world wanted Indy to win so bad, they were going to do whatever they had to do. I mean, look at the O.J. trial". Although Porter was expected to be fined for these comments, he never was, perhaps because the NFL later condemned the official's decision.
 
Everytime a player or coach criticizes an official, it makes it seem like the games aren't fair or are fixed. No one wants to watch a game where the officials miss every call. There's a direct correlation between fan interest and accurate officiating, so it's certainly in the NFL's best interest to not have its employees shoot themselves in the foot.
And there's a process for the teams to bring bad officiating to the league. It's not as if it goes unaddressed if it's not talked about to the press.
 
Why is the NFL so concerned with players and coaches criticizing officials? It seems to me that the refs are employees of the NFL, and players and coaches should be free to be critical. If someone is slacking at work, in any other non-sporting profession, do other employees get fined for bringing attention to their failures? It does not make sense to me, and seems a little big brotherish. It is almost as if it is a totalitarian state without freedom of speech. You might as well be criticizing Kim Jong Il in North Korea. What, he's criticizing the way things are run? Somebody shut him up. I know how. We'll fine him an exorbenant amount of money. Players and coaches should be able to be critical of other employees of the NFL, and I do not understand why the NFL will not allow them to be. The refs, after all, are simply the coaches and players co-workers.
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
Retaliation is illegal down?
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
 
mad sweeney said:
Interesting to note that Palomalu has not been fined for criticizing fines as far as I know. So there seems to be some areas that are open to public criticism.
It has nothing to do with the conduct of the games.
 
So if you called the local paper and criticized the company you work for and there was article quoting you the next day there would be no repercussions?
I appreciate the effort, but I do not think I am satisfied with these responses. If Joe Shmoe complains to the media that one of his co-workers isn't pulling his weight, I think said co-worker would be the victim of a firing.
So might the employee who brought it to the attention of the media.
And Chase, does anyone seriously think football games are rigged b/c of a bad call or two? Again, players and coaches are not criticizing the NFL, they are criticizing the work of their fellow co-workers.
The referees are not "fellow co-workers" of the players and coaches.
And it is not like these people are going out of there way to complain (ie calling the local paper) they are answering questions honestly and directly. Is that the type of message we want to send?
Yes. The league provides a process for complaining about bad officiating.
If you are honest and truthful when asked questions, you will be punished.
If you're not supposed to talk to the media about the issue, yes.
 

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