Rak on the refs lockout: 'Fans don't come to see referees'

Rak on the refs lockout: 'Fans don't come to see referees'
July 20, 2012, 4:46 pm
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If the NFL turns to replacement referees this fall, its possible Brian Orakpo will be affected more than most players on the Redskins roster.The league locked out 121 officials in June 3 when negotiations on a new labor contract broke down. The league has since begun the process of hiring replacement officials to work preseason games and, if necessary, regular season contests.Obviously its a messed up situation that they cant get something done, Orakpo said this week at his second annual youth football camp in Fairfax. Hopefully, theyll get something done before the start of the season.But if not, the two time Pro Bowl selection continued, we got to play ball.Orakpo is one of the leagues most feared pass rushers, having racked up 28.5 sacks in his first three seasons. He also draws more holding flags than most.Replacement referees, according to an article in Wednesdays Los Angeles Times, are more prone to missing infractions, such as holding, meaning its possible Orakpo could be subjected to more bear hugs, take downs and clotheslines than before.From The Times:According to referee Ed Hochuli, when replacement officials worked games in 2001, they threw between one and five penalty flags per game. He said there were between 12 and 14 penalties called in a typical game last season.With training camp set to open Thursday, and the Redskins first preseason game a mere three weeks away, Orakpos concern over the impasse is growing. But he also said he wont allow the prospect of replacement referees alter the way he plays.It doesnt change the way I will approach the game at all, he said. Im going to treat them like theyre a regular ref. Fans didnt come to see referees, so we just got to go out there and play ball.The impasse between the league and referees is over pay and benefits.