In a move that could cause the NFL problems for Giants and Jets home games, New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney has announced plans to introduce legislation that would prevent sports leagues from using replacement officials in the state.
Although Sweeney is reportedly a big Packers fan, he says that the reason he wants to ban the replacements is a concern for player safety.
“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 this morning. “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?”
Sweeney made clear that he thinks players are at risk with replacements on the field.
“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.”
This is probably bloviating from a politician more than it’s actually a path toward legislation that could end the lockout of the NFL’s referees. But with football fans across America complaining, it’s not surprising that politicians are complaining, too.