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President of AFL-CIO rips NFL for using “incompetent scab” refs

Craig Ochoa, Rusty Spindel

Referee Craig Ochoa, left, talks with field judge Rusty Spindel (105) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


The NFL Referees Association has the strong backing of one of the most powerful union leaders in America.

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, told The Hill that he’s a big football fan, but he isn’t watching the NFL right now because he’s appalled that the NFL is using replacement officials.

“They are scabs . . . they’re incompetent,” Trumka said. “I’m worried about the health and safety of a lot of players.”

The AFL-CIO is a federation of 56 labor unions, representing more than 10 million workers. Trumka made his comments at an event in Charlotte, where he’s attending the Democratic National Convention, and he said that the NFL needs to show it cares about the safety of its workers and get the best officials back on the field.

“What we need to do is get this thing settled, get those referees back so we can protect the players and the game,” Trumka said. “The game doesn’t really play well whenever you have a referee who doesn’t know what to do.”

At this point, so many people have ripped the replacement refs that Trumka’s comments feel like piling on. But it’s incumbent on those replacement refs to make sure they don’t give everyone a reason to keep piling on when the season starts.