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Kiwanuka: NFL's 'integrity' hurt by replacement refs


Two days before taking on the Carolina  Panthers on the national stage, the New York Giants spent Tuesday openly questioning the competence of the NFL's replacement officials.

Multiple players shared with Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News their concerns over safety, uncalled penalties and the legitimacy of the game. Their blame fell at the feet of the league itself.

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"I am not necessarily mad at the replacement officials," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "I am more upset with the NFL for not handling this and taking care of this in due time."

"There's no doubt the integrity of the game has been compromised not having the regular officials out there," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "We've got to get that taken care of."

Giants safety Kenny Phillips told Vacchiano he saw Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs "walk Victor Cruz like he was a dog," holding his jersey time and again in New York's 41-34 win on Sunday. Kiwanuka expressed concern over players taking advantage of the rules when sharing the field with overwhelmed replacements.

"That's the unfortunate reality, that the longer you extend that leash the more people are going to take it," Kiwanuka said. "We wouldn't have refs out there if we didn't need them. We need the regular guys to come back."

Somewhere far away, Ed Hochuli's ears are burning bright.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.