1NFL Fires Official During the Season
For the first time in the Super Bowl era, the NFL fired an official during the season for performance issues. Down judge Hugo Cruz, who had been on the NFL staff since 2015 and was assigned as an alternate for the NFC divisional round game between Atlanta and Philadelphia on Jan. 13, 2018, worked his final game Oct. 14. Cruz’s last game included a high-profile missed false start call on a play that resulted in a touchdown. His dismissal became public through the media Oct. 26.
Scott Green, NFL Referees Association executive director, said the union will file a grievance on behalf of Cruz.
“The NFL has a troubling history of knee-jerk reactions with an eye on public relations, and clearly it has not learned from past mistakes,” Green said in a press release. “The NFLRA will protect the collectively bargained rights of all officials and will challenge this reckless decision.”
The National Basketball Referees Association, the Major League Baseball Umpires Association and the Professional Soccer Referee Association issued a statement of support, calling the firing in the middle of the season a “reckless decision” and an “affront to all professional officiating.”
Mike Pereira, Fox Sports rules analyst and NFL VP of officiating from 2004-09, questioned the decision. “I can see letting the guy go if in fact he has the history,” he said. “But I just don’t see doing it during the middle of the season. I think you send a wrong signal to the other 125 or so officials that are still in the league.”
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