NEW YORK (AFP) –
Talks between the National Football League and locked-out referees remained stalled after a session that ended just before the latest angry incident involving coaches and replacement referees.
The NFL’s website reported no progress in talks on Sunday after two days of negotiations last week proved fruitless even as replacements struggled to cope with the speed and physicality of the NFL in the third weekend of play.
No new talks have been scheduled. The league reportedly rejected referee compromises on pension and compensation packages in the latest session even as replacement referees from lower college levels struggled to handle games.
“It’s not their fault. They are just not prepared to be in this situation,” New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN on Monday.
“The game is so fast, the level that all of them were at and now are at, it doesn’t even compare.
“It’s getting to a point where it’s pretty horrendous and it’s an embarrassment to the league the way it’s being conducted.”
The league announced fines of $30,000 to Denver coach John Fox and $25,000 to Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio for comments berating referees in a loss last Monday to Atlanta.
NFL officials also said they are looking into incidents involving New England coach Bill Belichick and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh in Baltimore’s 31-30 home victory on Sunday and remarks by Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in a loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
Belichick figures to receive at least a fine after grabbing the arm of an official as the man was running off the field after the final play.
Belichick said he was trying to get an explanation from any official about whether he would have been able to appeal for video review on a game-ending field goal that was ruled good.
“I did try to get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn’t able to do that,” Belichick said.
“I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I’m trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call, play, in that game.”