NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly in the past talked about protecting the shield, referencing the NFL and its. But the owners decision to lock out the referees has spawned disaster and now the NFL Players Association is telling its members the new refs are a danger to their health.

“The decision by the NFL owners to lockout the referees jeopardizes your health & safety,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. “This decision to remove over 1,500 years of collective experience has simply made the workplace less safe.”

Smith continued, “It is the NFL’s duty to provide a workplace that is as safe as possible. The League will want fans, the media and sponsors to talk only about ‘the product’ on the field. We are not product. While the focus today is about a blown call and the outcome of one football game, our focus as a family of players is and will remain squarely on workplace safety.”

The NFL decided to lockout the regular referees due to a contract dispute with the NFL Referees Association. The NFL banked on replacement referees from lower divisions of college football being able to take the place of the regular refs. So far, the decision has been a disaster.

Everything came to a head Monday night during a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. At the end of the game, a hail mary pass was intercepted or caught depending on which referee you believed. But after review, the call was a touchdown and Seattle won the game.

Fans everywhere erupted in anger, though frame-by-frame review could give some credence to the final call on the field. The NFL has spent Tuesday in damage control trying to avert a potential public relations disaster.

The refs on the field have been overmatched by players and haven’t been able to keep the peace in regular season games. They have drawn criticism from fans, announcers, players and even coaches. But the owners have refused to budge on their demands.

The NFLPA said they were weighing all of their options.

“Contrary to some reports, we are not crossing any picket line,” Smith said. “The referees are not on strike. The Owners locked them out. We are actively reviewing any and all possible actions to protect you.”