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Replacement ref: We were pawns in a business deal

Jerry Frump

Replacement referee Jerry Frump (37) makes a call in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)


With the NFL’s referee lockout over, many of the replacement officials are speaking out. Some of them are incorrectly defending their bad calls, while others are referencing crucifixion. But some are making fair points about the position that they were put in.

One from that last group is Jerry Frump, who refereed regular-season games on each of the last three Sundays and told Time that he thinks the replacements were just people doing the best they could while the owners and the regular officials fought over money.

As I said before, we were pawns,” Frump said. “This really became a business deal. I told my crew when we first got together, I said, ‘Gentlemen, you’re now working for probably one of the largest corporations in the country, maybe even the world. We need to keep that in mind because we need to conduct ourselves professionally and in a way that does not degrade or disrespect what they stand for.’ This was [the NFL’s] choice. They chose to take this position in the negotiation with the union. Whether I would have [taken the job] – if I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have. So, we did the best we could.”

Those feelings aside, Frump said he would have liked to keep working in the NFL, and he enjoyed working with his fellow officials.

“It was kind of a big disappointment,” he said of the end of the lockout. “Kind of a lump in your stomach. You knew it was going to happen someday, and you knew that it was right around the corner. It’s like I said – as a crew, we knew that it was there, but we just were so close and wanted to get one more.”

The rest of us can be glad the replacements won’t get one more.