NJ Senate President Moves To Ban Sporting Events With Replacement Officials
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Like many football fans, New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney has seen enough of the NFL's replacement officials.
LISTEN: WCBS 880's Steve Scott With Sen. Steve Sweeney
Sweeney will introduce legislation to ban professional sporting events with fill-in officials, the N.J. Senate Democratic Caucus announced on Tuesday.
"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?"
The Giants and Jets both play their home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Furor over the NFL's fill-in officials reached a fever pitch after Monday Night Football, a game won by the Seattle Seahawks on a controversial Hail Mary pass. Several players from the defeated Green Bay Packers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations, a sentiment shared by many inside and out of the league.
Dubbed by some as the "Fail Mary," Monday night's controversy has reached the highest level of government.
"NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon," President Barack Obama tweeted Tuesday.
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell has fan reaction
Fans said the replacement refs have damaged the integrity of the game.
"They have no idea what they're doing," a fan told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. "Just pay up and just let these guys [referees] get back to work."
"I think it's terrible. I watched the game last night and there were so many blown calls," another fan told Haskell.
Other fans said the game has become more dangerous because of the inexperienced officials.
"It looks like the WWF now on the football field. The refs have no control, the players don't respect them and I think it's affecting the whole game," a man told Haskell.
"I think this is a joke. It's a joke going on," said a fan.
Many NFL players, including Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, have expressed safety concerns with inexperienced replacement referees controlling the game.
"Whether the sport is football, soccer or baseball, when referees don't know how to properly enforce the rules, there is a real chance for unnecessary and serious injury," Sweeney said. "If the NFL insists on putting replacement officials on the field, putting players at risk, then the state shouldn't be playing a part in that."
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