The NBA has invited 45 replacement referees to a meeting in New York this week, the next step in the escalating showdown between the league and its locked-out referees.
According to an internal memo obtained by CBSSports.com, the replacement referees will meet in New York Sept. 24-27. Among the potential replacements invited to the meeting is Michael Henderson, the ref who was the focal point of a showdown between the officials' union and David Stern in 2004. Henderson was publicly reprimanded and suspended after an inadvertent whistle during a game between the Lakers and Nuggets. The mistake led to the Lakers' 112-111 win.
In a show of solidarity and support for Henderson, his fellow referees wore their jerseys inside-out with Henderson's No. 62 on the back. The protest was an early test of the referee union's strength early in the tenure of Lamell McMorris, the lead negotiator who is at odds with the league over proposed reductions in retirement benefits and other issues that prompted the NBA to impose a lockout on Friday.
After McMorris told CBSSports.com on Thursday that the 57 active refs would not attend the scheduled training camp in Jersey City, N.J., beginning Sunday, the NBA imposed the lockout on Friday and announced that it would reschedule the training camp with replacements. With preseason games scheduled to begin Oct. 1, the league faces the prospect of replacements refs working games for the first time since 1995.