Barnett's agent wants league to acknowledge referee's wrongdoing

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Nick Barnett might not file a formal grievance against NFL official Jim Quirk after all.

The Green Bay Packers linebacker's agent says he is more interested in having the league admit that Quirk's rough treatment of Barnett was wrong.

"Look, I don't think there's a lot to be gained by a grievance," agent Chuck Price said Thursday. "All we're trying to do is to protect Nick."

Umpire Quirk grabbed Barnett by the neck and threw him to the ground while breaking up a scuffle during the Packers' loss at Chicago on Sunday.

Price said he doesn't expect Quirk to apologize directly to Barnett, but hopes the league will "step up and acknowledge" that the official's actions were out of line.

"I think the Packers organization and Nick both are owed an apology," Price said.

Price previously told several media outlets he was considering filing a grievance with the league over the incident. League officials haven't announced any action against Barnett or the official.

Price says Barnett gets fined all the time for actions that aren't as serious, such as wearing the wrong color wristband or committing a routine face mask penalty during a game.

"This guy comes with a WWF choke hold, and just gets let go," Price said.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy called Quirk's actions "totally unprofessional" earlier this week, but said Wednesday that he had spoken with NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira about the incident. McCarthy praised Pereira, but wouldn't reveal details of their conversation.

"I'm comfortable with the conversation," McCarthy said. "That's something I can't share."

Barnett said he didn't want to cause any further trouble and was letting McCarthy handle the incident, but joked that the official might have a future in professional wrestling.

"I got in a choke hold, I couldn't really breathe a little bit," Barnett said. "He got a good one on me. I don't know how he got under that face mask, but he got a good hold on me."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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