Published September 25, 2012
Everyone from lawmakers to lingerie lovers are piling on the NFL for using replacement referees that critics say are blowing calls, letting games get out of hand and even putting players at risk.
As the lockout of the league's regular zebra-striped refs passed Week 3, officials with the Lingerie Football League told FoxNews.com that some of the replacements the league is using were rejected for getting calls wrong in gridiron contests between scantily-clad women.
"Due to several on-field occurrences of incompetent officiating, we chose to part ways with a crew which apparently is now officiating in the NFL," Lingerie League commissioner Mitch Mortaza said in a statement. "We have a lot of respect for our officials, but we felt the officiating was not in line with our expectations.”
Mortaza, a lifelong Washington Redskins fan, said the poor officiating is compromising the integrity of the league and if he were the NFL commissioner he’d hold a meeting with the owners to bring the union officials back into action.
"There are just too many instances where their incompetence has been on display," he said. "Someone’s going to get hurt."
At the same time, several lawmakers were chiming in, notably Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who both hail from the home state of the Green Bay Packers, who lost Monday night on a disputed, last-second call.
"After catching a few hours of sleep, the #Packers game is still just as painful. #Returntherefs," Walker tweeted early Tuesday.
Ryan, for his part, compared the refs to the Obama administration during a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"I half think these refs work part-time for the Obama administration in the Budget Office," he said. "They see the national debt clock staring them in the face, they see a debt crisis and they just ignore and pretend it didn’t even happen. They are trying to pick the winners and losers and they don't even do that very well."
And a top state lawmaker in New Jersey has seen enough of the NFL’s replacement referees, and he’s looking to ban them from working football games in New Jersey, where the Jets and Giants play their home games. State Sen. Steve Sweeney said the inexperienced referees could get someone injured
"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."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said disputed calls happen no matter who referees the game and said the league’s owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell are working to end the lockout.
"We appreciate Senator Sweeney's interest, but officiating controversies have always been a part of sports," Aiello told FoxNews.com. "Our staff, including Commissioner Goodell, has been in negotiations with the referees union for the past week. We hope to reach agreement as soon as possible."
Even President Obama couldn't resist staying out of the pile up, tweeting, "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."
The NFL employs 121 full-time referees, who reportedly make an average of $149,000 a year for their Sunday afternoon services. Most have other full-time jobs. The two main stumbling blocks in the labor dispute are retirement benefits and the NFL team owners' desire to impose new accountability standards on the referees.
On the retirement issue, refs currently have a guaranteed pension that the owners would like to convert to a market-vulnerable 401(k) plan. The owners are seeking new accountability by gaining the ability to pull poorly-performing refs and replace them from what would be a new pool of backup referees. Although this would expand the number of referee jobs, the officials are against it.