With Shannon Eastin set to break the gender barrier Thursday, as the first woman to officiate an NFL game, it’s probably (sadly) inevitable that some football player will make a sexist remark.
Thankfully, the Chargers aren’t going to be that team.
Several San Diego players told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego they welcomed the move, with several referencing the NBA’s Violet Palmer — one of the first two female referees, and the only one still working.
Eastin, one of the replacement officials during the league’s lockout of its regular refs, has been assigned the Chargers-Packers game Thursday.
“If they’re doing it in the NBA, why not the NFL?” fullback Le’Ron McClain said. “I think woman referees in the NBA are doing a great job, so I think it’s a great idea, giving her the opportunity to be out there, calling football.
“It’ll feel kind of weird seeing a lady out there, but I think she’ll do a good job with it.”
Eastin has worked at the low levels of Division I college football, calling games in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“Good,” tight end Randy McMichael said when told of Eastin’s assignment. “I think it really shows a step in the right direction. I remember going to a couple basketball games and seeing a woman referee refereeing NBA basketball games.
“I think it’s really good. A woman is just as capable as a man to do anything.”
Again, not every player is going to take such an enlightened view. Especially if Eastin makes a call against their team.