NFL opt-outs are not just for players.
Seven officials, including five with on-field assignments and two in the replay booth, opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns, according to NFL Network. The deadline for officials to opt out was Thursday, a week after the players’ deadline.
Line judge Jeff Bergman, back judges Steve Freeman and Tony Steratore, and field judges Greg Gautreaux and Joe Larrew are among those who will take a leave of absence. All 121 officials are part-time employees, after the league suspended its full-time officiating program in 2019.
Officials who opt out receive a $30,000 stipend — various reports indicate the average official earns about $200,000 per season in a normal year — and guaranteed job security for the 2021 season.
Officials who test positive for the virus during the season – they will be tested twice per week – will be entitled to injury pay, medical expenses and other benefits as if it was an injury sustained while on duty. The average age of an NFL official is 52.
Crews will be assigned with deference to geography this season in order to limit travel exposure risk. The league announced new officials will be hired to fill some of the spots.
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green said in a statement last week. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the league that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”
Source: New York Post
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