The NFL Has Reportedly Hired Its First Female Official
According to Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson, the NFL has hired its first female official, Sarah Thomas. And even though she’s a groundbreaker on the field, Thomas doesn’t see herself in the minority: “Being raised with brothers I’m just one of the guys, I guess,” she said. “…I look at myself as an official. With their respect and the respect that I have for them, it just doesn’t feel like it’s a male dominated profession.”
Thomas has made milestones at a steady pace throughout her career: In 2007, she became the first woman to officiate an NCAA football game, and in 2009, she was the first woman to officiate a college football bowl game.
She joins a group of female pioneers in male-dominated sports, like Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first full-time female coach, and Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series.
And as much as Thomas would rather not be recognized for her gender, it’s an important step forward for the NFL, which risked alienating its female fans after its lenient domestic violence policy became all-too-clear last year. Thomas’ appointment could open the door for more female leadership in the League, eventually proving that America’s richest sports empire is indeed interested in hearing female voices.
Update: On April 8, the NFL confirmed that Sarah Thomas is the League's first full-time female official in its 95-year history.