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NFL Green Bay Packers

Charles Woodson All For Female Referee

The first ever female NFL referee will officiate the Green Bay Packers preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers Thursday night, and that is perfectly fine with 15-year veteran Charles Woodson.

The NFL has still locked out the game’s officials in an ongoing process that does not appear to be resolved any time soon. In the meantime, the NFL has employed replacement referees for the preseason with the possibility of them continuing their work once the regular season starts if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement by then.

Shannon Eastin will be the first female to officiate a football game in the history of the league. She has experience referring at the college level officiating games in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but this will clearly be an entirely different atmosphere.

Numerous NFL referees showed their frustration with Eastin joining their squad with as much as nine officials reportedly refusing to train her. This, of course, infuriated the NFL who already is frustrated with the officials as it is. I do not believe Eastin being a female had as much to do with the referees not training her as the fact they did not like the idea of teaching someone how to do their job with the possibility of it getting taken away from them.

Woodson, the Packers legend and all-around football great, is optimistic about the idea of a female referee and believes it was just a matter of time before it happened.

“What do I think about it? Well, it’s probably about time,” Woodson said. “I’m sure women have probably tried at some point, along the way, leading up to this point. I would assume there’s somebody qualified out there, that we won’t have to jump all over for making bad calls. We look forward to it. That’s just the way things are and the way they should be. Hats off to her and whoever decided to make it happen.”

I am sure Eastin will do her job well and if she makes a bad call, she has to understand players are going to get all over her, as they do with everyone else. In fact, treating her like one of the guys is certainly a way for her to know she has earned the respect of the players.

“They joked with me just like I’m one of the guys (at Seattle Seahawks camp),” Eastin said. “I’ve appreciated the players tremendously throughout training camp.”

Eastin is trained to be an official and people should not look at her any differently than any other referee on the gridiron. There is no reason to believe she is going to make a worse or better call than someone else in a given situation, therefore, there is no reason to think too much into it. The Packers and Chargers certainly cannot think about it, as they must concentrate on doing their various tasks in order to improve for the regular season.