With the NFL still trying to work out a deal with the regular officials, replacements are again being used on Sunday and Monday. However, one of those officials, Brian Stropolo, won't be on the field for his scheduled assignment Sunday in Carolina for the Saints-Panthers game.
According to a report from Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the league learned that Stropolo was a Saints fan after noticing some photos on Facebook of him wearing their attire.
Side judge Brian Stropolo is a fan of the Saints, according to his Facebook page. He was pulled from the assignment Sunday morning and replaced with an alternate who travels with the crew.
The NFL was unaware of Stropolo's open allegiance as a Saints fan until ESPN contacted the league Sunday morning.
There is some humor to be found in this situation, but it is a good thing that the NFL caught wind of this before the game started. It's odd that it actually wasn't brought to their attention before—perhaps by Stropolo himself.
It sounds almost ridiculous to say, but there can't be an official on the field who might even think about having a bias for or against one of the teams. Not only would the credibility of every official be tarnished, but it could potentially have a direct effect on the outcome of the game.
Given how easy it is to gain access to someone's Facebook page, you have to wonder how a detail like this managed to slip past the NFL. No harm, no foul...at least in this case, I guess.