NFL Referees Association: 'We are ready, but we can't negotiate with ourselves'

The only place where the NFL replacement officials are popular is in the NFL offices. (US Presswire)

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reported earlier Wednesday, the NFL has sent a memo to each team stating that replacement refs are slated to work the first week of the regular season.

Freeman wonders if this is simply a ploy to get the NFL Referees Association to respond, and if that is the case, the ploy worked wonders.

Writes the NFLRA in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon:

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.

We look forward to the NFL’s response (or barring that, seeing how much of a disaster those replacement refs will be in Week 1).

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