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Saints fan/ref said John Harbaugh saw photos in preseason

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Brian Stropolo lost his gig as an NFL replacement ref when Facebook pictures of him in Saints gear emerged just before he was supposed to officiate a Saints game.

But the pictures were far from a secret, and were even discovered by Ravens coach John Harbaugh during the preseason.

In a detailed and touching story by Jim Kleinpeter of the New Orleans Times-Picayune which centers on Stropolo’s personal struggle, Stropolo mentioned that Harbaugh brought up the pictures prior to a preseason game.

When he introduced himself to Harbaugh prior to their game against the Jaguars, Stropolo told him he had seen the photos after Googling his name.

“You’re a Saints fan,” Harbaugh said, as relayed by Stropolo.

“I said, ‘I’m from New Orleans but I’m neutral. I’m from the NFL,'” Stropolo said, insisting he’d call the game fairly.

He said Harbaugh replied by saying: “Oh no, I’m just messing with you.”

Stropolo also said he felt like he was hung out to dry by the NFL, after being part of the crew that officiated the opener, and was ranked highest in the preseason by the league.

“When we came off the field [NFL executive vice president for football operations] Ray Anderson was in the end zone high-fiving us with the biggest smile on his face,” Stropolo said. “We walked in the locker room and Roger Goodell was standing there by himself and shook every one of our hands.

“He said, ‘Guys let me tell you something, that was amazing. Y’all looked like the real deal. Y’all set the bar so high I hope the rest of the crews can come up to do what y’all did.’ All of them [NFL officials] were smiling.”

The league’s reaction turned dramatically when the photos were revealed prior to the Saints-Panthers game he was supposed to call, but was removed the day of the game.

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27 Responses to “Saints fan/ref said John Harbaugh saw photos in preseason”
  1. jbpanthers says: Jan 31, 2013 3:55 PM

    I thought Goodell said that NFL security had rigorously background checked the NFL replacement refs? You mean to tell me the NFL security never bothered to run his name through Google?

  2. camcameronsucks says: Jan 31, 2013 3:59 PM

    And so continues the “Bash the Ravens” theme thats going on this week.

    Shaping the story to make John Harbaugh look like the bad guy who got this ref fired.

    Sorry, no. If you’re a professional referee and you’re seen wearing a teams logos/apparal, etc you’re compromised. Even if you are in fact completely neutral there will always be that chance that your decisions are impacted by the team you root for.

    Or you know, don’t be an idiot and make your facebook page viewable to everyone instead of just friends.

  3. rayburns says: Jan 31, 2013 4:04 PM

    You know, you have to wonder about the investigative prowess of the NFL when a coach can google an official’s name in pre-season and come up with more information about said official than the supposed vetting the league office should be doing.

    Almost makes you wonder about the integrity of the Bountygate investigation….

  4. marcinhouston says: Jan 31, 2013 4:06 PM

    If Roger Goodell is a Falcons fan, I don’t see the problem with one ref being a Saints fan.

  5. cosanostra71 says: Jan 31, 2013 4:08 PM

    camcameronsucks says:Jan 31, 2013 3:59 PM

    And so continues the “Bash the Ravens” theme thats going on this week.
    ———————————————————-

    lol, what? They aren’t allowed to mention a Ravens player or coach’s name, or else it is a negative story about the Ravens?

    I literally have no idea how you could see this as a negative piece about the Ravens. If it’s framing anyone in a negative light at all, it’s the NFL.

  6. overweightman says: Jan 31, 2013 4:08 PM

    You mean to tell me these guys were football fans before they became NFL refs!?!?

  7. jdillydawg says: Jan 31, 2013 4:11 PM

    Nice way to screw up a guy’s life. The media, Harbaugh, the NFL all worked together on this. Wow.

    Of course, it doesn’t surprise me. Integrity really isn’t a word the NFL understands, so when this guy says he’ll officiate without bias, that must have left the NFL guys scratching their heads wondering what the Hell he was talking about.

  8. ajw21 says: Jan 31, 2013 4:22 PM

    I don’t see anywhere in the article that implies John had anything to do with getting the ref fired. Your stretching. This is just the usual non news that comes out the week of the Super Bowl.

  9. mark0226 says: Jan 31, 2013 4:28 PM

    I don’t see how this paints Harbaugh in a negative light at all. The point being made was that Harbaugh knew about it long before the Saints-Panthers game, so the NFL also knew (or should have known) about it and did nothing about it, presumably because they (like Harbaugh) didn’t care. No one cared, until the media jumped on the story, which forced the NFL to react.

  10. tyler4richardson says: Jan 31, 2013 4:28 PM

    Get lost replacement refs. You’re time is done.

  11. drgreenstreak says: Jan 31, 2013 4:38 PM

    Just shutup!

  12. wtfpft says: Jan 31, 2013 4:39 PM

    NOBODY is neutral, I don’t care who you are. At some point in thier life those refs even if as kids had to root for a team and no matter what they do they will always favor them

  13. thevikes14 says: Jan 31, 2013 4:52 PM

    Sorry, no. If you’re a professional referee and you’re seen wearing a teams logos/apparal, etc you’re compromised. Even if you are in fact completely neutral there will always be that chance that your decisions are impacted by the team you root for.

    Or you know, don’t be an idiot and make your facebook page viewable to everyone instead of just friends.

    —————————————-

    umm when that picture was taken, waht are the chances he was a professional referee. The guy was a high school official who is a fan of the NFL.
    In hindsight, maybe he should have taken down teh picture for appearances, but the guy probably forgot about it or thought nothing of it.

    The NFL had every right to pull him from teh game and from an outside view, was probably right to do so, but your telling me the 100 or so officials left officating were not fans of any NFL team?

  14. rmfp1978 says: Jan 31, 2013 4:58 PM

    Cry me a river dude. Thats what you get when you take someones job while they’re in the middle of cba. He took a mans job while they were negotiating and now hes trying to act like he was the one treated unfairly. SCAB GET A LIFE

  15. montegmen says: Jan 31, 2013 5:00 PM

    What a croc of crap! Every game you watch a case could be made that a ref was leaning toward one team or another.

  16. nyjets1017 says: Jan 31, 2013 5:01 PM

    Why don’t get the refs get fired for being fans of the patriots? They always get favored

  17. bigks77 says: Jan 31, 2013 5:12 PM

    overweightman says:
    Jan 31, 2013 4:08 PM
    You mean to tell me these guys were football fans before they became NFL refs!?!?

    Sorry I was the one guy who gave u thumbs down! Even though I liked your comment!

  18. rushmatic says: Jan 31, 2013 5:13 PM

    camcameronsucks says:

    And so continues the “Bash the Ravens” theme thats going on this week.

    Shaping the story to make John Harbaugh look like the bad guy who got this ref fired.

    __________________

    I think you’re the only person looking for this type of stuff. I’m a Patriots fan and I don’t think it was a sleight against Harbaugh at all. Dumbdumb.

  19. chattanola says: Jan 31, 2013 5:48 PM

    Show me an NFL ref that hasn’t loved the sport all his life and therefore must have had a favorite team somewhere along the line.

    Did they have to dismiss Stropolo? Wouldn’t it have been simple enough to re-assign him to AFC games? Was anyone in the league monitoring assignments to begin with?

    That’s a shame. Hope he gets another shot.

  20. billsfan1 says: Jan 31, 2013 5:50 PM

    first off, was he a professional ref when those pics were taken?

    second off, couldnt you have just mandated him to work AFC games?

    Deep down, each and every one of those roots for teams and players. They just keep a level of professionalism about their job (we assume).

    If this was a Pats fan they would have deleted the pic and destroyed all evidence.

  21. thatswhatsgooood says: Jan 31, 2013 6:31 PM

    100% agree with the first statement by ‘camcameronsucks’. The tone of the stories for the Ravens has officially gotten disgusting. Continual HATE for the Ravens all week. Even a positive story for the Ravens by one of you dweebs somehow seems to work in a negative opinion.

  22. thatswhatsgooood says: Jan 31, 2013 6:32 PM

    100% agree with the first statement by ‘camcameronsucks’. The tone of the stories for the Ravens has officially gotten disgusting. Continual HATE for the Ravens all week. Even a positive story for the Ravens by one of you dweebs somehow seems to work in a negative opinion.

  23. patssox says: Jan 31, 2013 6:39 PM

    Oh boo hoo! They guy was wearing Saints gear! Shows no common sense.

    Wearing saints gear – and being FROM New Orleans – makes him a fan.

    So much from the linked article is also a joke:

    “After being selected by the NFL for a tryout, he attended two June clinics and then it was off to the exhibition schedule.”

    Yeah, these guys were really qualified! 2 clinics and some high school reffing experience? Please.

    “Stropolo said there was plenty of erroneous information and assumptions made about the photos, which were not posted to show his allegiance to the Saints. They were there with updates on Tina’s condition and with text messages meant for family members following the status of her condition. None of the photos were taken at or near a Saints tailgating party.”

    It doesn’t matter where the photos were taken. In fact, the fact that he was wearing the gear to a non-football related activity is even further indication that he was a fan.

    “Another photo taken of him with the Superdome in the background was described as a tailgate, but Stropolo had only stopped to have his picture taken while walking to the Texans game in August.”

    And here he is showing allegiance to his team on the way to another game.

    I’m not crying for this Saints fan because he didn’t get to ref a game in which his team was playing.

  24. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 31, 2013 6:48 PM

    Every official in the NFL has or has had a team he roots for.
    I guarantee it.

    They wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t start out as fans.

    People don’t get involved in a sport because it’s a business.

  25. raiderapologist says: Jan 31, 2013 7:23 PM

    Goodell says “Y’all”?

  26. mojosmagic says: Jan 31, 2013 9:14 PM

    Seems like a nice enough scab.

  27. ilovefoolsball says: Feb 1, 2013 2:10 AM

    That Roger Goodell sure runs a tight ship.

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