Replacement official pulled from Saints-Panthers game by NFL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NFL has pulled replacement official Brian Stropolo from his duties as side judge in Sunday's New Orleans Saints-Carolina Panthers game, according to NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.

Photographs on Stropolo's Facebook page show him wearing Saints gear, as first reported by ESPN. However, the NFL did not confirm that the social media account was the reason for Stropolo's removal from the game.

Stropolo's Facebook account no longer is publicly available.

Anderson said the NFL decided to err on the side of caution by removing Stropolo, as to prevent any storylines or excuses that could be related to potential in-game conflicts.

"We took the safe and appropriate measures," Anderson said.

An NFL spokesman told NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Albert Breer that alternate Tim Keese will replace Stropolo.

Also, cwill not serve as the alternate in the game. Another backup replacement official will serve in that role.

The NFL said Stropolo's support of the Saints essentially isn't improper. However, the league has made the decision to replace Stropolo as a precautionary measure to prevent any future conflicts.

Follow Stacey Dales on Twitter @StaceyDales.

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