Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald chimes in on replacement refs

Sep 25, 2012, 4:35 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm

Having just seen a division foe benefit from a questionable call made by replacement officials, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was asked by ESPN’s Mike & Mike for his thoughts on the subject.

“I was in disbelief, you know, I think like everybody else,” Fitzgerald said. “As a player I seriously just worry about the integrity of the game and player safety.

“That’s really what I worry about, just making sure the players are staying healthy by not having calls missed and the integrity of the game is not being questioned.”

Fitzgerald said his biggest concern upon waking up Tuesday morning was how the league is being perceived. It’s a valid worry, given that this latest gaffe is getting far more publicity than anything else that’s happened through the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL season.

And while this may be the most-discussed issue with the replacement referees, Fitzgerald said there is a notable difference with how games have been officiated this season.

“It’s the consistency throughout the course of a game,” he said. “Certain things with the regular officials are allowed, certain things are not allowed and you understand that line and if you cross it you’re going to be penalized for it.”

The Pro Bowler added that there are times a regular ref may see him push off a defensive back, but not call a penalty because the ball didn’t come his way.

“There’s corresponding with the players, they’re letting you know what the rules, what can be pushed and what can’t be pushed,” Fitzgerald added. “I think that kind of relationship we have with our regular officials goes a long way of keeping guys honest.”

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