From Comcast SportsNetCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The NFL has removed a replacement official from the New Orleans-Carolina game because it discovered he's a Saints fan.Side judge Brian Stropolo has been replaced by an alternate, Tim Keese. The NFL made the decision Sunday morning just hours before kickoff."He was replaced because of the information that surfaced disclosing that he is a Saints fan," league spokesman Michael Signora said.The league will look further into the matter. It received several phone calls and emails about Stropolo, who is from New Orleans and posted several photos of himself in Saints gear tailgating at a preseason game on his Facebook page.Stropolo's Facebook page has since been taken down.Stropolo worked the Week 1 NFL opener, a nationally televised game between the Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl champion Giants.ESPN was first to report the news.Panthers general manager Marty Hurney declined comment on the situation, calling it "a league matter."The NFL locked out the regular officials in June after their contract expired. Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association broke down several times during the summer, including just before the season, and the league is using replacements for the first time since 2001.Back then, the lockout lasted for one week of the regular season before a settlement was reached. This is the second weekend the replacements are being used, and the NFL has drawn up a five-week schedule for using them if the labor dispute is not resolved.Last week, there was one major error by the replacement officials, when they awarded Seattle an extra timeout in the final minutes of a game at Arizona. The Cardinals held on to win and the crew's referee admitted the mistake after the game.
Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.
Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.
PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING
The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message.
"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."
The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.
Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.
Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.
Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one.
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What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.
WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?
The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.
WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?
The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30
WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?
Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik
Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup
Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek
WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?
The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.
CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD
Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans.
For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.