NFL side judge pulled from game for being a Saints fan

When the New Orleans Saints play on Sunday, their fan Brian Stropolo will not be the side judge.

Story highlights

  • Member of officiating crew for Sunday's Saints vs. Panthers game is a Saints fan
  • "We must avoid even the appearance of a conflict," NFL spokesman says
  • NFL failed to reach labor deal with regular officiating crew prior to start of season

NFL side judge Brian Stropolo has been pulled from Sunday's New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers game because he's a Saints fan, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed to CNN.

Stropolo has a Facebook page -- which has since been pulled -- showing him in Saints gear.

"He was taken off game due to the information disclosing that he is a Saints fan. We must avoid even the appearance of a conflict," Aiello said

The NFL failed to reach a labor agreement with its regular officiating crew earlier this month, prompting the hiring of replacements. Stropolo was hired as replacement staff.

Alternate Tim Keese is replacing Stropolo as side judge for Sunday's game in Charlotte, North Carolina. Officiating crews always have an alternate in case a backup is needed for any reason.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.