H-SANTA MARIA

Sep 25, 2012 8:00 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Central Coast referee in the middle of NFL controversy

The referee who made the controversial call during Monday Night Football on Monday is from the Central Coast.

Lance Easley has lived in Santa Maria for the past 15 years, and has officiated high school and junior college football games up and down the coast.

KSBY's Nikki Ibarra spoke to Lance Easley's friends Tuesday.

Easley has been a referee for about 12 years. Friends, who have been in constant communication with Easley, told KSBY he's in good spirits.

Easley got the call from the NFL to officiate games in June.

Last night's game was Easley's seventh NFL game, but his first Monday Night Football game.

KSBY has learned Easley flew out of Seattle Tuesday morning and flew to San Francisco, where he boarded a flight to Fresno; that's where he's attending a business meeting until Friday. His full-time job is vice president at a bank in Santa Maria.

Mike Ostini has known Easley for 15 years and is part of the "Los Padres Football Association", which Easley belongs to.

Easley told Ostini Tuesday morning that he only got an hour of sleep.

Last night, Ostini and fellow referees got together to watch their friend officiate the big game, never dreaming Easley's role would put him into the national spotlight.

"It's so surreal, you know. It's one of your closest friends and he's in a situation at the end of a game and on a Monday Night Football game and there's no words that can explain," said Ostini.

Ostini said Easley is frustrated with the whole situation and says referees never want to be noticed. Ostini also said he thinks the replacement referees are doing the best they can.

Ostini said Easley is expected to hit the field again this weekend as referee for an upcoming NFL game.

KSBY's Nikki Ibarra also spoke briefly to Easley's wife Tuesday, who didn't want to go on camera. She said Easley was not home and that she would have him contact KSBY if he wanted to comment.

Easley is also president of the Los Padres Basketball Association.

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