President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have found something to agree upon: The National Football League should settle a dispute with the union representing referees after a disputed ruling by officials at the end of a game last night.
“I’ve been saying for months we’ve got to get our refs back,” Obama said as he arrived at the White House yesterday after speaking at the United Nations in New York.
“I’d sure like to see some experienced referees with NFL experience come back onto the NFL playing fields,” Romney said in an interview with CNN in Vandalia, Ohio.
A labor dispute between the NFL and the referees union has resulted in substitutes officiating games. The calls made by the replacements have generated complaints from players, coaches and fans.
The Seattle Seahawks two night ago defeated the Green Bay Packers on a last-minute play in which a pass by the Seahawks quarterback was grabbed in the end zone by a Packers defender and the Seattle receiver reached in to wrestle the ball from him as both players fell to the ground.
One official ruled it a touchdown for the Seahawks, while a second standing behind the play gave the signal for a touchback because of an interception. The ruling on the field was determined to be a touchdown. An interference penalty before the catch against the Seahawks receiver wasn’t flagged. Seattle won the game 14-12.
Obama said the ruling was “terrible,” and Romney said with a laugh that vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and Green Bay fan, was “very angry” and thought the Packers won “and the referees took it away from them.”
The NFL stood by the call.
“It’s very distressing for every American football fan,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Nicholas Johnston in Washington at email@example.com
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