By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s never easy or fun to go up against an angry mob – just ask Henry Fonda in “The Ox-Bow Incident” or Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But while I’m the first to admit I’m no Fonda or Peck, I’m going to try to follow their lead today and stand up to the mob that has formed against the most unpopular group of people in the country today, a group so widely-despised and reviled that I’m going to have to hire someone else to read my e-mail for awhile after this.

I’m talking, of course, about the National Football League replacement officials. Three weeks into the season, they are being blamed for everything up to and including the down economy and bedbugs.

A case in point is the world-class whining being aired out by T. J. Lang, a guard with the Green Bay Packers, who is furious at the substitute refs after their controversial call on the final play Monday gave the game to Seattle.

“It was just heartbreaking to have the game taken from us like that,” says Lang. “We put too much effort, blood, sweat and tears into this game to have it taken from us.”

First of all, that’s not exactly how it went down.

There were questionable calls in that game, no question, but the truth is, Lang and his teammates stank.

They let their quarterback get sacked eight times, and cleared the way for a pitiful 84 yards rushing.

And the supposedly unforgiveable final play?

Could have gone either way, yet this guy – set to make more than $26 million over the next three years, by the way – is crying like a baby about it.

I have no position on the labor dispute with the regular refs, but am truly amazed at the lack of responsibility taken by the players and coaches for their own behavior.

Their culture of cheating and dirty play seems so ingrained, they just can’t take it when adult supervision over it breaks down.

I say, shut up and play ball, and leave the replacement refs alone.

Maybe this is their chance to prove they are capable of playing by the rules without a nanny to make them do it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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