Moreland shares stories | Sports

National Football League and NFL Players Association umpire Sidney Moreland, who spent part of his childhood at Ferriday, said his job can be thankless.

“If you walk into an NFL camp and into the cafeteria and there’s a person sitting by themselves, that person is probably a referee,” Moreland told the Ferriday Rotary Club on Thursday.

Moreland, who now lives in Baton Rouge, has been an arbitrator of civil and labor disputes for more than 35 years in multiple jurisdictions. He has handled cases in more than 2,500 cases in all economic and industrial sectors. He has successfully mediated in over 1,000 civil cases.

“Some days are fun, some days are less fun,” Moreland said. “Some days are more acrimonious than others. I’d say having umpired just about every industry, NFL football players as a whole are some of the finest gentlemen you’ll ever come across. Eighty- eighteen percent of them are “yes sir, no sir” they are very religious and their work ethic is amazing otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are They are very respectful It really is a pleasure to work with them and their lawyers are very, very good at this.

“Probably the most acrimonious trade-offs I make will be the rail sector,” Moreland added. “These jobs are very hard jobs. These are very dangerous jobs. It takes a special kind of people to be a conductor and an engineer because of the long hours and the technical nature of the job. The rules represent approximately 12,000 pages of all the rules that govern the railroad. As a referee, I have to learn all this. These hearings can sometimes get very, very physical. I had to separate a lot of people. I was hit several times. We don’t have US marshals or ushers. We are right there.

Moreland said he has fond memories of his time at Ferriday.

“I spent my summers as a kid in Ferriday,” Moreland said. “My great-grandfather was MAD Crothers. He ran Ferriday Rail Depot in the 1920s and 30s. In those days, the railroad was the hub of everything. The people of Ferriday somehow made him mayor in 1940. He tragically died in 1941 of a heart attack at the age of 61.

Moreland said her great-grandmother, Rill, lived on Virginia Avenue.

“She was the founder of the Ferriday PTA and the Concordia Parish Library,” Moreland said. “My grandfather was Billy Crothers, who became a geologist and traveled the world.”

Billy’s brother, Brenham Crothers, was a senator who served on the Ferriday Town Council.

Moreland said his work is very educational.

“My job gives me the chance to learn a lot about a lot of different things,” Moreland said. “I have arbitrated at coal mines in West Virginia, chemical plants, airlines, refineries and railroads. I have done cases of border patrol agents which are very interesting. You have to be prepared to do a lot of homework.

Among arbitration lists and panels, Moreland is part of: Southwest Airlines, Federal Mediation Conciliation Service Department of Homeland Security, Orion Corporation, Union Pacific, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay Employment.

Moreland was among the first to arbitrate a multi-million dollar federal class action lawsuit. He has chaired more than 30 public law councils, arbitrating disputes in the transport sector (railway and air transport).

Moreland graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Southern Law Center and has both a Bachelor of Science and a Business Technology degree from Louisiana Tech.

He also studied labor-management negotiations at Harvard University and has been a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators for over 20 years.

Moreland, who worked as a salary umpire for Major League Baseball in the past, has served as an umpire for the NFL and NFLPA for the past 10 years.

“We have drug cases and failed drug cases,” Moreland said. “In the NFL, there are two drug policies. There are performance-enhancing drugs, which are basically three categories — steroids or anabolics; masking agent which is something taken to prevent the detection of a drug; and performance enhancer, or what we in the streets call speed. They increase your physical response time and decrease fatigue. If you test positive for any of them, you will face disciplinary action.

Moreland said another grievance covers conduct on and off the field, which is also the most popular as far as the public is concerned.

“There are those you’ve heard of,” Moreland said. “This is usually administered by the commissioner. It’s really the team’s job to administer discipline to the players on their roster. But often they don’t want to. If the player does not like what the commissioner or the team renders, he can file a grievance which goes to the referee. I can’t reveal names because I’m forbidden to do so, but I had a case where a player groped an Uber driver. We finished the hearing, and then he decided he no longer wanted to pursue the grievance. I think the evidence kind of piled up on him. But I really don’t do much in terms of discipline on the pitch. I made a case where a lineman called the back judge an “MF”. And that word is a $28,000 word.

Another grievance may relate to contractual bonuses.

“There’s a uniform contract that every player in the NFL uses,” Moreland said. “Players can get bonuses for scoring as many touchdowns, making the playoffs, or getting as many yards while passing or rushing. It’s unlimited riders who are attached to a contract. If the player feels the contract should be honored, he can file a grievance and if he doesn’t like the results, he goes to arbitration.

There’s also the injury grievance, Moreland said.

“Most grievances in the NFL are injury grievances,” Moreland said. “The NFL player’s contract is a performance-based contract. They (NFL) can relieve you of the team because of your performance. There is a provision in there that says something like due to the competitive nature of the league and the availability of other players in this position who can perform at a higher level, we have the right to terminate this contract. Of course, there are dismissal clauses.

Moreland said that if a player is dropped from a team, but was injured when he was dropped from a team and the injury is the result of play or practice, then that player receives the rest of his contract money. These contracts can range from $700,000 to millions. »

Moreland said when preseason is over or exhibition games are over, teams need to reduce their rosters to 53 players.

“When the players come to work the following Tuesday, they’re usually met in the parking lot and taken to the general manager where they know what’s going to happen,” Moreland said. “The player usually goes down the hall and calls his agent. Then he comes in and says to the general manager: “You can cut me off, but you know I was injured in the game on Sunday. Once the injury is confirmed there is usually a physical exam and an MRI and that goes to the referee. The injury grievance dispute, the contract is very specific that the injury should be timed at the time the injury was alleged. Players are required to report an injury as soon as it occurs. Typically, the first witness at one of these hearings is the trainer. And they can say, ‘Well, he didn’t report his injury.’ And then the player will say, ‘Well. I reported the injury, you just didn’t write it down. So we have credibility disputes that we need to resolve.

Moreland said that before a player leaves one team to go to another team, he must undergo a physical examination and disclose any pre-existing injuries.

“Medical records get very intense,” Moreland said. “Surprisingly, there were more injury grievances than disciplinary grievances last year. For some strange reason, right now I was doing all the injury grievances. I hope that changes. There are five other referees, and I don’t think they like to grieve injuries because the evidence is so albuminous.

Moreland said the most common injuries involve the ACL, MCL and anterior cruciate ligament.

“The speed of these players becomes so phenomenal,” Moreland said.

Former Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill was clocked at 23.24 miles per hour in 2016.

Moreland said injuries are also a big part of the game.

“I think there were 170 ACL injuries last year in the league, which is an increase from 2020, which was a short season.”

Moreland said he doesn’t do much when it comes to discipline on the court.

“I did a case where a lineman called the back judge an ‘MF.’ And that word is a $28,000 word,” he said.

Moreland mentioned a case involving the New Orleans Saints, without saying the names.

In this case, the Saints fired team orthopedists Derek Jones and Misty Suri after cornerback Delvin Breaux discovered he had a broken fibula following the initial diagnosis that it was just a a bruise.

Breaux, whose team was reportedly open to negotiation in the days leading up to this latest development, had surgery and missed more than a month.

“The downside is that the doctor involved was supported by other doctors in New Orleans,” Moreland said. “The team doctors just missed it.”

Moreland said the top three teams in the NFL that show up for some type of arbitration are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans.

“Some teams are better managed than others,” Moreland said.

Another common injury is concussion.

“The league has worked really hard over the past five years to put in place a concussion protocol,” Moreland said. “There’s a new helmet called the Vicis Zero2 which is just phenomenal. When this helmet first came out, only 5% of NFL players wore it. It’s mandatory now. The best thing I can tell you talking to NFL players why they didn’t want to wear them at first is that they are very superstitious like baseball players their helmet is a very sacred thing to them Vicis Zero2 cost about 1 $200. It doesn’t concern the league very much, but it concerns me because you want high school kids to get these helmets. We are currently working on many programs to make these helmets available in high schools.

Moreland said that ultimately you try to use the best judgment possible when it comes to officiating.

“You do the best you can,” he said. “You try to read people as best you can.”

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