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Progress…or a Desire for Positive Publicity?

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Sarah Thomas has made an amazing leap forward for women in the NFL, becoming the first female referee in the league’s 95-year history. She has gotten the respect she has earned and deserves, showing a league dominated by men that she is just as capable and competent. Her calls have the same authority as her male counterparts, and so far, the initiation has been smooth; however, there is a lot of skepticism as to why the NFL has now decided to allow women into the men’s club.

The National Football League is hoping to expand the number of female referees within the organization. They are also inviting women to act in coaching roles as well. This is an amazing opportunity for women to be included where they have not been before. Though this is a positive step towards giving women the equality and respect they should never have been without, there are many skeptics questioning the reason behind this change. Could this be an attempt to gain positive publicity by inviting females to play significant roles in the game? The NFL may be trying to break away from its sordid history of tolerating domestic violence. Where there should be zero tolerance, the consequences for players who have perpetrated violence upon women haven’t been strict enough. Could the inclusion of women be a great leap forward or a great disguise of the reality of the NFL’s questionable tolerance of abuse towards women?

{I do not think the hard work of Sarah Thomas or any of the women in the NFL should have anything to do with how the NFL handles the issue of domestic violence. If it is an attempt to put a band-aid on the issues of equality, respect, and domestic violence, it is a disgusting shame and will not go unnoticed.}

Some of the comments made regarding the inclusion of women in the NFL are proof that this is a necessary step in the right direction, no matter the reason behind it. Certain individuals need to realize that women are just as capable as men and deserve respect and the chance to prove their worth. Some of the comments made in response to an article about the newly acquired roles of women in the NFL on the FOX Sports website highlight a very real problem. “Do these stripes make me look skinny?”, “I just wanna see them naked,” and “Man’s sport…period! It’s football for cryin’ out loud” are prime examples of why the inclusion of women is necessary to change the frame of so many misguided minds. It will not happen overnight, but if female referees continue to prove their worth, once their presence in this male-dominated sport becomes commonplace, and the shock goes away, we can only hope that ridiculous comments and ideologies such as these will go with it.

Sarah Thomas is leading the way for the future of women in the NFL. Her hard work, dedication, and expertise will prove that she deserves to be treated equally and no differently than any other referee out there because of gender. The issue of gender should not be an issue, and this progress will hopefully diminish the question of a female presence from now on.

Article Written by: Erin Irish

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