thomas_Sarah_practice71First and foremost Congratulations To Sarah Thomas for becoming The NFL’s first permanent female official!

The onslaught on dum dum comments have come crashing in, as one would expect, and for that I am sorry Ms. Thomas. Hopefully, and I’m sure you will, because it isn’t like you went “hey I don’t know shit about sports or care, but I enjoy wearing black and white stripes so I want to be an official!” will only focus on the positive.

A. You’re doing what you love.  B. You are now an inspiration for young girls who, perhaps, looked at refereeing as something that would be fun but could never be a viable career.

Well it is now.

One of the comments expressed or “worries” was the capability or qualifications of a woman or if a “pack” of woman officiated a game, would they know what they were doing.

Here are Sarah Thomas’s qualifications. She’s been officiating since 1996, wow almost 20 years, are there woman older than 20 years old?

In 2006 she was invited to an officials camp by Gerry Austin, head coordinator for Conference USA and a former NFL official. Ms. Thomas was so impressive she was hired for the Conference USA staff. In 2007, she was the first woman to officiate a major college football game.

She came highly recommended by two NFL scouts. She has a good presence and demeanor. I feel like she has the ability and courage to make a call, and the guts to not make one, too.-Gerry Austin

In 2009 Sarah Thomas was assigned to a crew and given a full schedule of 11 games. She was also selected to officiate The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl making her the first woman to do that!

In 2013 Ms. Thomas became a finalists for a permanent NFL officiating position.

Thomas has worked New Orleans Saints scrimmages, and was part of the NFL officiating development program.

During the 2012 NFL Referee lockout, Sarah Thomas was a replacement referee making her again, the first woman to officiate an NFL game.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think she knows what she’s fucking doing.

Here’s something else that came up from Cleveland sports radio host (with the state of sports in Cleveland do they really need a whole talk show about it?) and dum dum, Kevin Kiley;

The objection I have to this is why would you put a woman in that position? To be abused. Now I’m not talking about physical abuse obviously, but I’m talking about—we have comments on Twitter here about when an offensive lineman or somebody unloads profanity on this woman—I don’t want women I care about in that position. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why you’d put a woman in that position, where she’s going to be criticized and under a microscope, and have to deal with things that no woman should have to deal with. (via Deadspin.com)

Male referee’s have had obscenities and abuse directed at them for years, at all sorts of games. Even freakin’ T-ball so it’s not like women are walking in blindly, not knowing the nature of the beast.

Woman have undergone scrutiny from the dawn of time. This isn’t anything new. We deal with criticism and being put under a microscope everyday, our “media” perpetuates that. Dum dum Kevin Kiley is part of that problem. We are called names like bitch or cunt, we’re too fat or too skinny, we’re not funny.  Honestly if I hear one more shitty comment about Kelly Clarkson’s weight, I will pull out my hair! My point being that if we let all of these “opinions” affect how we live our lives or how we pursue our dreams nothing would happen, we would have to lock ourselves in our period tents and never leave.

I would ask you to also consider this past NFL season. Ask any Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, I could go on and on, do you think the ref’s, who were all men, were competent? My mother who watches football every Sunday, raised 7 children, is a vice-principal at an inner-city school could officiate these games better than the bozos that had the job last year. Because that’s what women do. TheY are able to multi-task, keep an eye on a large number of people roughhousing, make calls under pressure without loosing their cool, manage time, rules and regulations because we do it everyday.

I’m excited for Sarah Thomas and I’m excited to see what happens this coming season. Come on Sarah, let’s get my Cowboys to the Superbowl!

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Claudia Dolph
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