Cruz has been an NFL official for four seasons and spent the last two as a down judge.
The NFL fired down judge Hugo Cruz on Thursday, according to Football Zebras. This marked the first time an NFL referee has been fired midseason in the Super Bowl era.
Cruz drew criticism for a missed false start in the Chargers' victory over the Browns in Week 6. He failed to throw a flag on Los Angeles tackle Russell Okung prior to a Chargers' touchdown. However, the blown call against Los Angeles did not determine Cruz's firing per ESPN's Kevin Seifert. Rather, Cruz was fired for not "maintaining a very high level of performance over a sustained period," according to Football Zebras.
The NFL Referees Association released a statement following Cruz's firing, calling the move a "reckless decision."
“The NFL has a troubling history of knee-jerk reactions with an eye on public relations, and clearly it has not learned from past mistakes,” the statement said. “The NFLRA will protect the collectively bargained rights of all officials and will challenge this reckless decision through the Grievance process.”
Watch the non-call on Okung below:
Cruz was in the middle of his fourth NFL season prior to being fired by the NFL. He had worked with three different officiating crews in six weeks through 2018.
The NFL has replaced at least 20 of its officials in the past two offseasons per Seifert.