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NJ Bill Would Ban Replacement Refs in State

Steve Sweeney, president of the New Jersey Senate, has
introduced a bill that would prohibit professional sporting events replacing
referees with what he calls "scab" officials, calling it a safety

The NFL has been operating since the beginning of the season
with replacement officials due to a contract impasse, leading to heavy and
harsh criticism of the way games are being called and controlled, or not called
and controlled.

"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," said Sweeney in a statement
emailed to B&C from his office
late Tuesday. "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?"

"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."

That would, of course, affect the Giants and Jets, who play
in East Rutherford.

The Senate is not slated to meet again until Oct. 1.