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N.J. official seeks replacement ref ban

Sept. 25, 2012 at 2:28 PM
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TRENTON, N.J., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A New Jersey lawmaker, his favorite team stung by defeat, introduced a bill banning NFL replacement referees form officiating games in the Garden State.

Replacement officials -- subbing for officials locked out by the league in a contract dispute -- made a controversial call on a last-second Hail Mary pass play Monday, giving the Seattle Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Hours later, New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney -- an avowed Packers fan -- introduced a bill banning the replacement refs he says are a danger to players and a detriment to fans, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

"This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety," Sweeney said in a statement. "We wouldn't allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?"

He charged replacement referees make the game less enjoyable to watch, devaluing the often high cost of a fan's game ticket.

With its regular staff of officials locked out, the NFL has been using referees who would otherwise be calling games in Division II or Division III college football, the newspaper said.

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