Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Money talks - this NFL referee strike will now get settled

If you've looked at organizational dynamics, you realize that conflicts are not easily resolved.

Take the current dispute between the National Football League and its referees.

Some will argue that if the referees want $x and the NFL only wants to give $y, they should just split the difference. Life doesn't work that way.

Some will argue that blown calls by the replacement referees will force the NFL to settle this. Why? At least in the short term, viewership may even increase. I can see the promotions:

Tune into Sunday Night Football, where you can not only watch the game, but can also try to predict how the replacement referees will score it? Can you predict what will happen? What outrageous stunt will the refs pull next? Tune in to NBC and be the first to find out!

From the NFL's perspective, providing pensions to the (part-time) referees may set a precedent toward benefits to provide to other NFL and team employees, and may even result in a push by the players to get better benefits for themselves.

But something has just happened that may push the NFL to settle:

A Las Vegas casino took an unusual step Wednesday and offered refunds to gamblers who lost money when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial touchdown at the end of Monday night's game.

Derek Stevens, owner The D Las Vegas, seized on the attention being paid to the much-derided decision by replacement officials handling the NFL game and became the only casino in Las Vegas to offer refunds.

Now the replacement refs are costing someone real money. Lots of it.

And even if the mob is out of Las Vegas, there are a number of (using Tony Bruno's phrase) "degenerate gamblers" whose winnings or losses were affected by the replacement referees. And don't kid yourself - gambling matters to the NFL. Why else would the NFL require teams to publicize the injury status of their players, despite the fact that this provides competitive intelligence to the opponents of the teams?

Money talks. And if the replacement refs continue to affect the degenerate gamblers, there will be huge pressure to settle this dispute.
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