UPDATE: The Lunardellis will not officiate any more games this year, but a final disposition of the case has not been decided by the NJOFA. They could be reinstated or they could be permanently expelled.


Friday night, two men who were being paid to officiate a high school football game walked off the field and refused to do their jobs because some of the players knelt during the national anthem.

Look, I’m like everybody else. When I go to a football game, I want to see a football game, not a political protest. But stomping off in a huff because someone has different political views than you do just makes the situation worse. Why do we have officials at sporting events? To make sure the game is contested fairly and the players are kept safe.

These two, Ernie and Anthony Lunardelli (father and son), abdicated their responsibility to the safety of the players by allowing untrained cadets fill their roles in refereeing the game. It should take the NJSIAA about ten seconds to fire these two for walking off the job, and, according to MyCentralJersey.com, the elder Lunardelli has already hired a lawyer to prevent that from happening. The younger Lunardelli was quoted as saying “they have their right to protest, and so do we.” The difference is, the players went ahead and did what they were supposed to do: play the game, and the officials did NOT do what they were there to do, officiate the game.

According to MyCentralJersey.com, the New Jersey Football Officials Association will hold an emergency hearing on the matter, and will be responsible for any possible punishment of the Lunardellis.

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