Anger over the NFL’s replacement referees reached a fever pitch on this week, leading at least one lawmaker to announce his intent to legislate against the unpopular scourge.
Upset over the blown call that won the Seattle Seahawks a victory over the Green Bay Packers Monday night, New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation banning professional sports with replacement referees.
“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, a Democrat and a Packers fan, said in a statement reported by CBSNewYork. “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 NFL is currently in a labor dispute with its professional referees. In the interim replacement referees with less experience have taken the helm, officiating the games and in many instances botching significant calls.
Sweeney claimed that the bad calls lower the integrity of play and could open players up to injury, according to NJ.com.
“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,” said Sweeney. “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.”