- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
NFL coaches, players and referees expressed outrage at the replacement referees who stood in for the NFL Referees Association that was on a labor strike for months. Now, one of the substitute referees is talking about feeling like he and the other replacements were demonized by an entire nation for doing their jobs.
Jeff Sadorus, former college football official who served as a replacement referee during the NFL Referees Association lockout, recently spoke to The New York Times about what it felt like to be berated by countless NFL staff members and fans. After watching a spoof of the replacement officials being mocked to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen's song, "Call Me Maybe," Sadorus said he realized just how bad things had gotten.
"My daughter found the 'Call Me Maybe' video they did of us and showed it to me, and I had to laugh," Sadorus told The New York Times. "Honestly, sometimes during this whole thing it felt like the national pastime in this country had changed from football to bashing replacement officials."
Although fans and NFL personnel were complaining about calls made by the replacement referees for weeks, last week seemed to be the boiling point for many who disagreed with a call made in the final minutes of a Green Bay Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The decision resulted in thousands of fans complaining to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and even a Wisconsin senator posting the high ranking NFL executive's phone number so that fans could express their upset.
Even President Barack Obama joined in on questioning the NFL replacement officials during the labor strike, but Sadorus insinuated that nobody could have done the job perfectly outside of Jesus Christ.
"Everyone wanted perfection, but come on: the last guy who was perfect they nailed to a cross," Sadorus said. "And he wasn't even an official."
While Sadorus told the Times that he received $3,000 per game and was able to live out his dream before returning to his day job as a food services company in the state of Washington, he admitted that he felt like the replacement officials were portrayed in the wrong light during his tenure.
"We worked very, very hard," Sadorus said. "As demonized as we were, I hope people remember that we are people, too."