Hire Ex-Soldiers As NFL Referees, Jay Glazer Says
Jay Glazer is an NFL reporter for Fox Sports and The Athletic, who also has a well-known side job as an MMA trainer. Glazer made news earlier this week when singer Demi Lovato posted a video to her Instagram after she accidentally knocked knock out one of his front teeth.
Now, Glazer has hit the news for another reason: His highly offbeat suggestion that the NFL fire its current team of officials and replace them with combat veterans.
In a mailbag column in The Athletic that was published on Thursday, Glazer laid out his idea, which he acknowledged was “off the wall and out of left field.”
“Change out the officiating department and hire all new officials, all combat veterans special operation backgrounds,” Glazer suggested. “Go hire a bunch of Navy SEALs, Marine Recon, Delta Force, those guys.”
Glazer’s rationale for the proposal is that the ex-soldiers are likely in good shape, have faster reaction times, and are much less likely to be intimidated by coaches who argue with their calls.
It’s unclear whether Glazer is speaking in jest or playing devil’s advocate. It’s also unclear why elite combat personnel would choose, in any large numbers, to become pro football officials.
NFL officials are unionized employees, represented by the NFL Referees Association, and they even had a lockout in 2012, which led the league to use replacement officials for the first three weeks of the regular season. Paul Ryan, then the Republican nominee for vice president, memorably ripped the officials for a blown call the night before that went against his beloved Green Bay Packers, per USA Today.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 8, 2019
Glazer’s suggestion follows a season in which many NFL fans complained about frequent bad calls, most notably the pass interference non-call in the NFC Championship Game that led to protests and Super Bowl boycotts by fans of the New Orleans Saints.
The proposal by Glazer also drew some mockery.
Deadspin made fun of the suggestion, writing that “it’s not just that Navy Seals have the lightning-quick reflexes needed to determine whether a football has been caught. It’s also that if Andy Reid gets very pissed off at them they can snap his neck like a chicken bone.”
Others posted an oft-mocked and since-deleted tweet from 2014 by the account YoungCons.
“I can’t be the only one who thinks if the troops wanted to they could put together a football team and dominate the NFL,” it stated, per The SitRep.