Shannon Eastin to Become First Female NFL Referee
The National Football League has confirmed that Shannon Eastin will be the first female NFL officiator, set to debut on Thursday.
When the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers take the field in Southern California Thursday night for their pre-season match-up, Shannon Eastin, the first female NFL referee will be on the field.
Eastin was one of the replacement officials in Dallas on Friday to take part in the first training clinic. We learned from Farmer's report that officiating trainers -- a group of nine of the game's most respected former officials -- were asked to turn in their company-issued laptops after refusing to train Eastin.
Fortunately, the resistance to Eastin officiating has been based not on her gender but on her experience. Referees aren't supposed to arrive in the NFL until they've had 10 years of officiating experience, and at least five of them on the college level. Eastin is a year short of that credential, and she'll have to overcome a broad suspicion among sports fans that the replacement refs, no matter their gender, are under-qualified and likely to blow calls that the locked-out pros would have gotten right.
The labor agreement between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association lapsed June 3. Officials have been locked out since that date, and until they come to an agreement replacement refs will officiate the games.