Posted by Will Brinson
The NBA has crossed the gender equality line of having a female official, but as of yet, the NFL has not. However, that will likely change in the future, according to Carl Johnson, the NFL's VP of Officiating.
Johnson spoke with Jane McManus of ESPNW.com (in the context of an excellent profile piece female umpires/referees) and told her that there are some lady officials "in the pipeline."
"We have some in our pipeline, and I expect we'll see it soon," Johnson said.
Johnson noted, per McManus, that there are "women who are currently under consideration" and is anticipating a hire in the near future. But Johnson also pointed out that it's not about just placing the first capable female official on the field.
"Our goal is to get the best people working this game," Johnson said.
So, at some point in the near future, a female will be involved in the officiating of an NFL game. Don't think that because we live in a (somewhat) modernized and progressive society that this will go over smoothly or quietly.
Because it won't. There will be sexist comments on blog posts when it's announced, the scrutiny surrounding the game involving the female will be intense, and "old-fashioned fans" will be eagerly anticipating a mistake.
That's OK. You best believe the NFL and Johnson and everyone else anticipates that. Which is why whenever a female official is given her first assignment on the NFL field, it'll likely be in a situation that at least mitigates as much controversy as possible.
And it probably won't matter because, as Johnson noted, it will be a qualified individual donning the stripes. And once that gender line is crossed, it will start disintegrating some and the fact that a female official is making calls in a football game will become much less of a big deal and much more of a normal process.
That's good for society and it's good for the NFL. Especially if it can help push Jeff Triplette out of active duty.
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