Thursday Think(+) Positive: First Female Referee Makes NFL Debut|
Tonight, the first woman ever will be making her National Football League debut during the preseason matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers. No, she won’t be dressed in an helmet and pads with the intention of sacking the other team’s QB. But she will play an integral role in who wins and who loses.
Shannon Eastin will make national history tonight as the first female referee in the NFL. There has been conversation of women being brought onto the NFL officiating scene for some time now, but as labor relations between the NFL and NFL Referees Association have come down to a lockout, Eastin was poised to make the jump for all women as a replacement official.
In Her Dreams
Eastin is no newbie. She’s a veteran referee with over 16 years of experience and who comes from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (that’s college ball for all you non-sports fans). In 1999 Eastin told the Arizona Republic that she could officiate in the NFL someday, and look at what she’s about to do.
“I want to encourage women: Don’t be afraid,” Eastin said on a conference call Tuesday, via The Associated Press. “Pursue and have dreams. This is my dream. With every step, I hope to show it really doesn’t matter if you are male or female.”
The Spotlight is On
This nationally televised game will be a stepping stone for women everywhere, especially women in sports. As Eastin prepares to officiate football at the highest level for the first time, she makes a groundbreaking move.
Eastin is throwing herself into a potential whirlwind of national scrutiny for the sake of women in her field because she felt this was the time. As others in her profession look down on her for taking a job during the union dispute, she felt she had to what was best for her and her career. She stepped boldly and willingly into the action, excited to see what path her actions will take.
So tonight we watch as this female replacement shows the world that she just may be armed and ready to perform at the highest level of her profession, and stay there.