NFL Pulls Replacement Referee After Finding Out He Is A Saints Fan
The NFL pulled one of the replacement referees that were assigned to the New Orleans Saints - Carolina Panthers game this morning after finding out he was a Saints fan. Brian Stropolo was scheduled for side judge duties today during the Saints-Panthers matchup, but was pulled and replaced with an alternate (Tim Keese) after the NFL realized he was a member of the Who Dat Nation.
Stropolo is from the New Orleans area, and on his Facebook page he lists himself as an NFL side judge. His Facebook page is also decorated with photos of himself decked out in Saints gear, tailgating at an August 25 preseason game. He didn't work that particular preseason game against the Texans, but he was assigned to today's game against the Panthers.
After working the Week 1 matchup between the Cowboys and Giants, Stropolo posted "Thanks to everyone for all the support. The crew did a great job tonight. Next stop September 16th at Carolina vs the Saints." That update drew 73 "likes" and comments like, "Be nice with those yellow flags for our Saints!!" and "That's awesome you get to be an official for a Saints game! I didn't think they would let you since your (sic) from Louisiana."
Since then, Stropolo's page has been taken down. The NFL Referees Association has been locked out since early June and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have still gone nowhere. According to the NFL, the replacement officials are subject to the same background checks and held to the same standards. The slightest "appearance of impropriety" is grounds to pull any official from a game, which is why Stropolo was pulled from today's game.
At least this guy knows how to pick a good team. WHO DAT!