(WSCR) The current NFL referee lockout is providing an interesting opportunity for one replacement referee.
For the first time in league history, a woman will work an NFL game as part of the officiating crew.
Shannon Eastin, who has spent time officiating high school and college games, will be part of the replacement crew officiating Thursday’s Packers-Chargers game. Eastin has worked Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games, and she also has worked the Arizona Cardinals’ Red and White game, a preseason scrimmage.
Coincidentally, at this time last season, the NFL’s head of officials said the league was considering hiring a female referee full time.
“We have some in our pipeline, and I expect we’ll see it soon,” he said.
Male or female, former NFL head of officials Mike Pereira said using replacement referees will ultimately hurt the integrity of the game.
“Now you’re going to get a group of people out there with no experience,” Pereira told The Dan Patrick Show, “and you’ve got such a mix of people — some with barely more than high school experience, you’ve got guys that have been out of the game for years, you’ve got guys that have officiated in the lingerie football league … you’ve got such a mix right now that it’s not good for the game.”
This is the first referee labor dispute since 2001 when a contract issue led to the referees missing the last exhibition game and first regular-season game of the season.