Officials say NFL planned lockout

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by Traci Neuman

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL's on-field officials say the league planned to lock them out rather than negotiate a new contract.

Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down. The league has been contacting replacement officials.

Scott Green, the NFLRA president, and past president Ed Hochuli, both current referees, say the NFL is jeopardizing the safety of the players, as well as the integrity of the game, by considering using officials they feel are unqualified.

The officials say their wage offer was for a smaller increase than they received in the collective bargaining agreement that expired in May. They also cite as issues higher wages for officials in the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, and the loss of a pension system.

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