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NJ Legislator Moves to Ban Replacement Referees from the State

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Stephen Sweeney, president on the New Jersey State Senate, is pushing for legislation that would prohibit NFL games officiated by replacement referees to happen in the state, New Jersey 101.5 reports.

The move comes after massive public outcry at the way the replacement referees handled the final call of yesterday’s Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers.

With Green Bay leading, Seattle quickly moved the ball down the field and into scoring range. On a desperate, fourth down toss with mere seconds on the clock, quarterback Russell Wilson targeted receiver Golden Tate in the endzone. The pass seemed to be clearly intercepted by Packer M.D. Jennings, though the replacement officials ultimately ruled for mutual possession and a Seattle touchdown.

Sweeney, a Packers fan himself, believes that the inexperience and perceived ineptitude of the replacements creates potential for injury to players.

“We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees,” Sweeney said. “Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?”

Sweeney’s statements echo a growing sentiment among NFL players, coaches and fans as frustration over the league’s inability or unwillingness to settle with the referee’s union reaches fever pitch.

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