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Friday, July 11, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 69.0° F  
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Citizen Dave: Damn the Man! Packers lose to the greed of Roger Goodell and the NFL

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Dianne woke me up this morning with the news.

"Packers lost," she said.

I was just coming to. "Huh?"

"We intercepted a ball in the end zone. We lost."

"Well, how do you lose a game if you..."

"Read about it."

So I did.

I had to read about it because I couldn't watch the game, which went like this through much of the first half: Aaron Rodgers gets sacked followed by five minutes of commercials followed by Aaron Rodgers getting sacked again followed by lots more commercials. It became a pretty predictable pattern. So, I went upstairs and read a book and then went to sleep.

But all of this relates, of course, to Act 10, as does everything else in the universe.

It goes like this. The regular, competent NFL referees have been locked out by the owners. The call on that play got messed up because the referees are replacements recruited from a division of schools with names like the Azusa Pacific University Cougars and the California State Dominguez Hills Toros. (Why you'd want to name your teams after a lawn mower isn't clear to me. I suppose they have a lot of grass in a place like Dominguez Hills.)

It's not that these are bad guys, the replacement refs. They're just not used to watching the game played by bigger guys who are really fast. You think it's easy? You try it.

So, what the NFL owners are learning at the expense of the rest of us is that their petty fight to squeeze still more profit out of the league's goldmine by pinching pennies with the referees is costing them the integrity of their game. Despite record profits, the owners want the officials to take on more responsibility for preventing injuries on the field while keeping them part time and paying them less than officials in any other professional sport. The average starting NFL official gets $78,000, compared to $120,000 for a new umpire in major league baseball.

It's also hurting the golden goose of TV revenues, as the pace of the games, which increasingly seem like they're just filler and delivery platforms for commercials, has been slowed by the inexperienced officials. NFL games are running about a half hour longer than they did last year.

So, the Packers lost because the heel of the capitalist boot is pressing down on the necks of the working man. Breaking unions is a bad idea for everybody. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to give the refs what they deserve today or resign tomorrow.

It's bad enough when Scott Walker tries to break unions, but when this kind of thing starts to make the Packers lose football games, it is time to rise up.

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