The National Football League is a male dominant sport with everything from players to coaches being men. With the size and athleticism of the players being thrown around on the field, it would only make sense that men are out there to officiate the game… or is that so?
With the start of the 2012 NFL season starting off in a lockout with the official referees, new opportunities for “replacement refs” arose and women are not only on the sidelines in skirts shaking for fans. Shannon Eastin, a female referee that has been coaching college games for over 15 years, took this opportunity to step up to the National level in a preseason game with the Packers facing the Chargers. As you can bet, there were differing opinions to this situation.
It could be seen that Shannon was simply just being used by the NFL to fill in for the original refs and nothing more. Although she has many years experience officiating, there were many other potential refs with much more impressive accomplishments. With this being said, could this be seen as the way the NFL sees women to end the lockout and get the official refs back? That they are in fact willing to bring in even women to fill the place of the officials rather than settle the disagreements on pay? Also, will this change the aggressiveness in the game for players? Will they not only have to worry about how hard or where they hit but also what comes out of their mouths in front of a lady? These are questions that arose from that game mainly because this is the first time a woman has reffed in the NFL, ever, and under such circumstances as the lockout with the real referees.
With every new event, especially in professional sports, comes controversy. The positive outlook to this occurring is that a woman actually was a part of an NFL game. This shows just how far society has come in even the past 100 years with woman being placed more on an equal level as men. Even though there is such controversy over such issues now, I have no doubt that one day it will be just a normal event. Change is different to people, something new. There will be debate because of something new, until that new is normal. I feel this was a good step for the NFL, regardless if it came from negative circumstances. Regardless, history was made with Shannon Eastin.