Scab Referees: Training verses Perception

After a preseason of worrying and a handful of bad calls in the first three weeks of the regular season, the referee strike appears to be in the rear view mirror.  ESPN reports the refs will be back on the field starting tonight!

It was odd that during the beginning of the NFL season people talking more about replacement referees then they were their favorite player or team.

The scab refs created enough attention to cause the public to wonder if this season will earn the notorious asterisk (*) in the record books.  Even Republican and Democratic politicians agreed that enough was enough.  Well people can stop worrying about the asterisk and politicians can go back to bickering with one another.

Businesses can learn a few lessons from this P.R. debacle; with the first lesson being solve any employee strikes ASAP.  Other lessons revolve around training and perception.

  • Training: The bad calls these replacement referees were making can be traced back to education and training.  When you hear a ref call a false start on the defense instead of calling the penalty an encroachment, it boils down to training.  Businesses can avoid simple, yet embarrassing miscues like this by incorporating a strong 90-day on-boarding process for new hires.  In this type of situation, a more intense on-boarding process may have alleviated any unneeded stress on the replacement refs and the NFL.
  • Perception: Was this all an issue of public opinion?  After all, people have been complaining about referees since the creation of professional sports.  If the NFL would have gotten ahead of this story by humanizing these replacement refs and highlighting their experience/background, there may have been less emphasis on the “silly” calls (i.e. 11 yard penalty).  Building a strong Public Relations campaign focused on the new refs could have helped the NFL in the short-term and eased the tension fans already had about the scab refs.  With a P.R. Budget already in place, all the NFL would have had to do was shift some of the funds for another P.R. campaign to a “Ref P.R.” campaign and not overspent their budget.

Regardless if it was an issue of training or perception, one thing is for sure, the old refs are back!  Fans can now go back to rooting on their favorite teams knowing that the questionable penalties being called are now from the same old regular referees and not some unknown replacement referee.

Oh yeah…Go Titans!


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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