Originally written September 25, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
GREEN BAY, Wis. Though Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers handled their post-game press conferences with some restraint, the same was not true for a few of Green Bay's players on Twitter. After the Packers lost on Monday night in Seattle against the Seahawks on a last-second hail-mary touchdown, a play that replays conclusively showed was called incorrectly by the NFL's replacement referees, tweets came pouring in from the locker room. It started with Packers left guard T.J. Lang, who wrote, "Got fed by the refs.. Embarrassing. Thanks nfl." Later, Lang added, "F it NFL, Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs." Soon, other players shared their take on the situation via Twitter. Packers starting right guard Josh Sitton had a series of expletive-filled tweets. "That was bullsh," Sitton wrote. "This is getting ridiculous! The NFL needs to get the refs back bfr we strike and they make no money!" Sitton posted another tweet soon after, writing: "The nfl needs to come to gb and apologize to us for fing us! These refs r bums!" Packers tight end Tom Crabtree posted, "13th man beat us tonight," referring to the referees. On the final play of the game, with the Seahawks losing 12-7, Seattle's rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a desperation pass deep into the end zone. Seahawks receiver Golden Tate pushed Packers cornerback Sam Shields out of the way -- which went uncalled -- and attempted to make a jumping catch. However, Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings came down with the ball and landed on top of Tate. Two officials walked to where the ball was, with one referee signaling touchdown and the other calling an interception and a touchback, with the result then being a Packers win. The replacement officiating crew -- still working in Week 3 of the regular season as the NFL continues to keep the NFL Referees Association locked out -- then went to a replay. A few minutes later, it was announced as a Seahawks touchdown, putting them ahead 13-12 with no time left on the clock. After a long delay, with the Packers already in the locker room, McCarthy eventually sent out 11 players to stand on the field and allow Seattle to kick its meaningless extra point. Rodgers said it was "just awful," but that was very kind in comparison to his teammates' reactions. Tight end Jermichael Finley posted on Twitter: "Come on @NFL. This sh is getting out of Control. (Cost) us a DAMN game. Horrible!" Finley later added, "@NFL Cheap (as) hell!! Get us some NFL REFS! Not PEE WEE league refs." Wide receiver Greg Jennings tweeted: "NFL C'MON MAN! Can't even be upset anymore. All I can do is laugh. Laugh at the NFL for allowing America's game to come (to) this. WOW!" Tate stated in his post-game interview that he did catch the ball, a comment that also did not go over well in the Packers locker room. Sitton wrote: "Golden tate is full of sh too. Saying he clearly caught that is embarrassing! Fing jokers!" Lang added: "Any playercoach in Seattle that really thinks they won that game has zero integrity as a man and should be embarrassed." The negative reactions didn't end with the Packers, though. The NBA's Most Valuable Player, LeBron James, even chimed in with multiple tweets. "These replacement refs gotta go man!!," James wrote. "Packers just got game took from them. I LOVE NFL football (too) much to see this type of work. ... C'mon man!! That's clearly an interception. ... I simply just LOVE the NFL (too) much to see these mistakes. I'm sick like I just played for the Packers." Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler took his protest of the call a step further. "I just emailed the commissioner to say I am embarrassed to be a former nfl player after that," Butler wrote. If there needed to be a game-deciding play for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to end the lockout and come to an agreement with the regular referees, this public outcry should be enough to get it done. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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