Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is upset.
The government is in the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Federal employees are going without pay. Vital services are at risk.
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And the Saints were robbed of the NFC Championship.
“I hope it doesn’t seem out of place with the shutdown,” Cassidy said Friday on the Senate floor. “But I can tell you, to the folks back home, it is something which continues to disturb them.”
Cassidy called for the NFL to answer questions over a highly controversial call by a referee during the NFC Championship in New Orleans on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints faced off the Los Angeles Rams, ending with what Cassidy dubbed one of the most “blatant and consequential blown calls in NFL history.”
Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman made contact with — some would say hit — Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes to spare. But the referee refused to call pass interference, to the ire of fans across the nation.
“Every drunk sitting on a stool in every bar throughout the nation looked up at that TV and said there’s interference,” Cassidy said, indignation gripping his voice.
The non-call has garnered more than guffaws. Two lawsuits have been filed over the move, including one by a New Orleans resident who sued the NFL on Tuesday alleging the NFL promoted “a culture of selective enforcement of its own rules based on profit,” The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Cassidy argued the NFL represents a standard for competition in the United States, and such a call harms the integrity of the game itself. Cassidy proposed questioning the league on how it selects and grades officials and if the league looked into any conflicts of interest with the referee behind the non-call.
The Rams will be heading to the Super Bowl to play the New England Patriots on Feb. 3 — which Cassidy saw as an utter shame.
“It really is a taint upon the Super Bowl,” the senator said. “It won’t be the two best teams. It will be the two teams that got there, at least in one case because someone did not see an obvious call.”