As the NFL referees lockout continues, people are finding more and more reasons to complain about the replacement refs. The preseason saw its fair share of blown calls, and a quick search of Twitter will show you that people are still frustrated with the quality of the officiating as we close week two of the season.
And now, some Facebook sleuthing has led to one replacement referee’s ousting as it was determined that he may have held some allegiances that could have affected the outcome of one Sunday afternoon matchup.
Ref Brian Stropolo was stripped of his job as a side judge before yesterday’s Carolina Panthers/New Orleans Saints game after the NFL learned of his not-so-private Saints fandom.
According to ESPN, who were the ones to notify the NFL, Stropolo’s Facebook page was littered with references to how much of a Saints fan he is. This included photos of Stropolo in full Saints gear, and even participating in tailgates for Saints preseason contests.
Stropolo refereed the NFL season opener between the Cowboys and the Giants on September 5th. After that game, he posted this to Facebook:
Thanks to everyone for all the support. The crew did a great job tonight. Next stop September 16th at Carolina vs the Saints.
That post received 73 likes and a bunch of comments. Two of those comments referenced Stropolo’s allegiance to the Saints.
“Hey, now be nice with those yellow flags for our Saints!!” said one commenter. “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,” said another.
Of course, there’s no telling whether or not Stropolo would have been able to be an unbiased referee with his team on the field. The NFL removed him from the game for the mere “appearance of impropriety.” Stropolo’s Facebook page has been removed.