- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- We’re about to witness what I’m pretty sure is history at Bank of America Stadium.
In a game in which Aaron Kromer will serve as interim interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints, we’ll have a replacement replacement official.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen just reported that side judge Brian Stropolo has been pulled from Sunday’s officiating crew after the league learned that his Facebook page was filled with Stropolo wearing Saints shirts and other merchandise.
Officials are supposed to be neutral and aren’t supposed to be fans.
No word yet on who will take Stropolo’s place on the field, but each crew brings along an alternate official.
The apparent conflict of interest brought some strong comments.
"I'm going to look at worst-case scenario, and it's not an isolated incident,'' ESPN's Tom Jackson said. "I think all of this puts in question the integrity of the league. Let's get the regular referees back doing the job they should be doing.
ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Mike Ditka echoed that last sentiment.
"Commissioner (Roger) Goodell has his first headache, and this is a big headache,'' Ditka said. "It's time to get the real guys back to work.''