The Union Recorder

Top Stories

July 9, 2013

Women referees set to break NFL's glass ceiling

NEW YORK — Sarah Thomas was a 23-year-old ex- college basketball player when she was thrown off a Mississippi church-league team because she was female. So she joined her older brother at a football officials' organizational meeting as a way to stay in sports.

After 16 years of calling high school and college games, she is poised to become the National Football League's first permanent female game official, possibly as soon as the 2014 season.

"I didn't set out to break a glass ceiling or a gender barrier," said Thomas, a 39-year-old from Brandon, Miss. "If you're doing things because you love them, then things have a tendency to just kind of fall into place."

Thomas and Shannon Eastin, who broke the gender barrier last season as a temporary official while union referees were locked out by owners, are among 35 officials in the NFL's training pool. Eastin is at the lower level and Thomas, a line judge, is one of 21 from whom the NFL will choose the next time there's an opening.

"Sarah's at the top of our scouting program," Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, said in a telephone interview. "Now we're taking an even closer look as part of this developmental program to see who distinguishes themselves and give them a taste of the NFL speed, rules and mechanics."

Thomas' promotion to the NFL would be a "good positive first step that begins to reflect the gender dynamics of the NFL audience," said Aine Duggan, president of the New York-based National Council for Research on Women. "It's important for women to see themselves reflected on and off the field. Having a woman referee is a good step that begins to do that."

Text Only
Top Stories
Poll
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India