This is atrocious. It is ruining the sport every week it continues. The integrity of the game is in jeopardy. People will eventually stop watching. This behavior cannot be tolerated. I am talking about a lockout, but which one? It is hard to tell because the NHL players lockout and the NFL referees lockout is hurting the games of hockey and football, respectively. However, football will always take center stage in the United States, so for now Gary Bettman is taking much less criticism than he usually would.
In 2012, Goodell has ruined the New Orleans Saints season while they were being hit by another hurricane, received many awkward hugs on draft day, won American Football Coaches CEO of the year, gets booed prolifically everywhere he goes, and has locked out the referees one year after a lockout almost cost them the season. The referee lockout didn't seem like it would make a major affect on the game. The preseason didn't look terrible. Then the games became real.
The worst part about the replacement ref situation is they get worse when they are on national television. The calls that happened Monday night with the Falcons and Broncos game caused John Fox to have a semi heart attack. The flow of the game is immediately halted every single snap. The Sunday night game between the Ravens and Patriots was the worst officiated game I have ever seen in professional sports. On Sunday they had games where they got video reviews wrong, spots in the wrong place, announcing the wrong penalty on the wrong player, missing receivers getting literally tackled before the balls gets thrown, a game "winning" field goal that very possible wasn't, and Roger Goodell on the same day has cut off talks with the referees. How much is enough Roger?
Then we have hockey. The players are leaving to play in Russia and Eastern Europe. Alberta, Canada is suing the league saying the lockout is against their law. Gary Bettman plans on canceling the Winter Classic in November to gain an advantage over the players at the bargaining table. He canceled all September preseason games. He has already cut NHL employees pay by twenty percent. Oh, and we might lose another season when it seemed like we were finally gaining momentum back that we lost in the last lockout.
So, who is doing a worse job here? Goodell is known as the commissioner with an iron fist. He made himself judge, jury and executioner when it comes to player punishment. He has shown he doesn't care that the integrity of the game is coming into question because the league is still getting the same ratings. He has cut off talks with the refs even though it seems the replacements are getting WORSE. Bettman, on the other hand, has halted momentum of his entire league to try to squeeze every penny possible out of the players. He is using dirty tactics to force the players to sign a bad deal. He is causing his league to lose games while the players are still making a paycheck in other countries. They are both terrible, but I just don't know who is worse.
One thing is for sure, Bettman is sending a thank you card Goodell's way, because if it wasn't for these replacement refs he would be on the "how could our commissioner be this bad" seat (which I still ask myself). The terrible calls in the NFL is masking the NHL's inadequacies. The worst part of the entire situation is we are stuck with both of them for a long time.