The NFL said Friday that it has not fired nine officiating trainers who refused to train replacement officials, but the league confirmed it did take back the computers and system access of those trainers.
"The officiating trainers have not been fired," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. "They are seasonal employees who have decided not to work at this time. We asked for their NFL-issued laptops back so that those who are working right now can use them."
That statement was a response to what trainer Jerry Markbreit, a highly respected retired NFL referee, told The Times earlier Friday. Markbreit said he felt as if he had been fired even though he had not received that word in writing from the league.
"We feel that we’re fired. They haven’t formally notified us, but it sure feels like we’re fired,” said Markbreit, one of nine trainers in a group that includes Red Cashion, Ron Botchan, Bill Schmitz, Ben Montgomery, Jim Quirk, Sid Semon, Tom Fincken and Dean Look.