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NFLRA reacts to report that “league official” was fired


On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL had fired an employee who sold footballs used in the AFC title game between the Colts and Patriots. On the air, Schefter referred to an unnamed “league official” who lost his job as a result of the infraction. The NFL Referees Association was confused by the report; the referees union believed Schefter meant that a game official as in a guy wearing black and white stripes was fired.

“The National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) tonight refutes an ESPN story reporting earlier today that an NFL official was fired in connection with the ‘deflate‐gate’ episode in the January’s AFC Championship game,” said Jim Quirk, Executive Director of the NFLRA. “The NFLRA requests that ESPN immediately offer a public apology to its game and replay officials and publish a retraction of story.

“No NFL Game Official has been fired in connection with the circumstances involving footballs used in the AFC Championship game. Our members have and will continue to cooperate fully with the NFL’s investigation into this matter, and we request an immediate retraction of this story and a public apology to our membership.”

It’s unclear how clearly ESPN reversed course or whether an apology was issued, but it’s our understanding that ESPN has revised its reporting to make it more clear that it wasn’t a game official but a league employee who wasn’t wearing the uniform of a referee, head linesman, etc.