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August 18th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

First Female NFL Referee?

Sarah Thomas says she didn't start out to break a gender barrier, but the 39-year-old referee would do just that if she's offered a job with the NFL.  She'd become the first woman to officiate full-time with the league.

It's not certain whether she'll get the job; at this point, she has only auditioned for it, helping referee a preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the New Orleans Saints.  But we'd love to hear your opinion about the possibility of a woman officiating full-time in the NFL.

Carl Azuz, Anchor


Filed under: News Coverage
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Tanvi

    If Sarah Thomas gets that NFL job as a referee that will prove that women are just as good as men in everything and that there shouldn't be a gender barrier in life. Most people think a woman isn't as capable as a man which is not true, womens activists have been protesting about this gender barrier for the past 100 years ( ex.Susan B. Anthony) and this issue has still not resolved. If Mrs.Thomas gets this job, this will be a major turning point in history. 🙂

    August 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Cap

      How does becoming a NFL ref prove that? I have never really understood this whole equality notion. Men and Women are NOT equal. There are specific physical and possibly mental traits one sex has that the other does not. The reason is, is the survivability of the species. Over millions of years, both sexes have had unique traits that attract the other sex so that we can continue thriving as a species. Men and Women are not equal, and I hate this notion and push to make them equal. Men and Women are uniquely different, even men from men and women from women. We are uniquely different and complimentary, and there are biological reasons for that! Stop trying to make us equal, its a rediculious notion that lives only in the heads of liberal feminists who live outside reality.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • casey

        All this coming from a man that can't even spell properly. I think I'll stick with being "inferior."

        August 27, 2013 at 8:12 am |
      • shane

        actually men and woman are different, but they are also equals.
        there is a greater genetic difference between people based on what hair they have, then what gender they are.
        woman can compliment woman, and men can compliment men. how well it works is based on the person not the gender they are.

        August 27, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  2. Staci

    It is a great idea! Equality in all things, even sports!

    August 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  3. Gracey

    I think it will be a great change for women to be a referee in the NFL because some women may want to do it to , but they have the voice to speak up.

    August 19, 2013 at 7:16 am |
  4. Mieesha

    Sex shouldn't matter because if she can do the job that's all that really matter, but anywhere you go, or anything you do you'll have people that judge you.

    August 19, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  5. Becky

    If she does the job done right, then gender should have nothing to do with it.

    August 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Brian

      I totally agree plus that goes for all of the female workers in which some people think they shouldn't be.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  6. Salley

    I think than women can do as good as men in officiating.

    August 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  7. John

    This is a great way to show that males and females are equal; and hopefully if more females become officials or thing that are most likely to be done by men, we wont have such as big a discrimination problem or wont have to say other people are sexist.

    August 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  8. Caitlin

    If she good than why does sex matter?

    August 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  9. Aaron

    Gender dosent matter if they do a good job they should be a referee hopefully they can get better refs than what they have now

    August 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  10. zanard

    it really does not matter as long as there are people out there trying to work

    August 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  11. vince

    great idea! if more women are referee's it means more women are going to become what they want to be and not what their gender is forcing them to be.

    August 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  12. Aya

    I think it's a great news! Male and female must always be considered equally.

    August 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  13. John

    I don't care if the ref is male, female or some other sort of multi-celled complex organism, I'll accept any organism with eyes that enable the ref to get the call right, judge the players impartially, and get the arithmetic right so the next play starts on the correct line with the play clock properly set.

    August 20, 2013 at 1:04 am |
  14. casiana

    I think that having a female referee is a great idea. It will put a whole new perspective on sports. I think its time we try something new.

    August 20, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  15. Yao

    I think most of the football fans do not care about who is going to officiate at games, as long as her physical fitness is competent to officiate full-time with the league. After all, refs are subservient to the game itself. It's those super stars who steal the show, not the team of referees.

    August 20, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  16. Dustin

    I don't think it should matter if the ref is a women or man. as long as they can call a good game at least better than last years replacement refs. If they can do better than that then everything is all good.

    August 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  17. David

    Women have no place in men's sports. Not on the field, not in the locker room, not in the broadcast booth. It doesn't matter if it's baseball, basketball, football, hockey, college men's sports. If women must get involved, please, they must stick to softball, WNBA, LPGA or women's college sports circuit.

    August 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Kelly

      It is 2013 and men have been involved in Women's sports since the beginning of time. Time for a change!

      August 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Thia

        Who's to say she can't? If she qualifies for the referee her gender shouldn't be the determining factor.

        August 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Cindi

      I must say I agree with David. Its a silly thought to have women running around with the men. Next thing you know there will be one of these wanna-be "tough women" that are filing suit for discrimination or harassment. It's a man's game, and should be played by men.

      August 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Thia

        Oh, please! Women used to not be allowed to work. Everyone said, "Working is the mens job and should be done by men." Well, it's the 21st century. Women work and can do everything that men do. Women used to not be able to be doctors. Things have changed and no one can tell her "no you can't because you are a woman."

        August 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • kaity

        WOMEN RULE WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        August 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • jan

      that is just ridiculous. This is not the 18th century, time to get with the progress of the rest of the world.

      August 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • kaity

        YOU GO PERSON!

        August 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • jaycie

      I think women have all the right to play/participate in a sport just as men. If they are good at pursuing that sport they should be able to continue, if not be promoted. I am a huge football fan and i think if she is good at being a ref she should be able to be the first. I hope she successes, and can be the first.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • leeanne

      Okay you think that because we are girls that we can't handle a rough sport,please there are amazing women that can beat you at anything. What if your friend tries out for vollyball women wouldn't say anything like "it's a girls sports". You need to give women a chance.

      August 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • kaity

      Women are just as good as you! I PLAY FOOTBALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!And I'm really good. Footballl is an american pasttime! And last time I checked I am an American. I LIVE FOR FOOTBALL! Plus girls can handle a ruff sport. PLUS GUY REFFS HAVE MISSED ALOT OF CALLS! Girls can do better.

      August 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  18. chino

    no way will stop watching football forever if it happens

    August 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • kaity

      We love football just as much as you!

      August 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • leeanne

      What is the big deal women want to be reconized,sports are sports lets leave it like that

      August 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Ricardo

    I believe it's a great idea. The NFL has had some ref issues in the past. Maybe that's what the league needs. I would watch her games just to see her performance.

    August 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Thia

      I agree. If she has what it takes her gender shouldn't hold her back.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  20. collin

    i think that would be great

    August 21, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  21. Thia

    There's no reason she shouldn't be allowed. There are male referees all the time in volleyball and softball so why can't there be a female referee in football? It's basically saying men can be referees in female sports but females can't be referees in male sports. That's what I call discrimination.

    dis·crim·i·na·tion
    the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

    August 22, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  22. Greg

    the day a woman is in the nfl the day a woman can referree

    August 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • kaity

      You just wait till me and my BFFS hit the tryouts!

      August 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  23. Morgan

    I love to watch sports, but all of the well-known sports are boys. It would be nice to see some skirts mixed in with the pants.

    August 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  24. Becky

    Yes! Why have I not thought of this myself?! If she's good, then that's all that matters. C'mon David and Chino, don't be haters. What if your heart surgeon was a woman? Would you say, "nope, get a man or let me die?" It's football!!! Have fun and let 'em ref!

    August 22, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  25. Brian

    I agree with those above who say gender doesn't matter, quality of reffing does. Can the individual make the right call at the right time and then not back down from the players or coaches who will try to bully them out of that call? If so, let them ref.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  26. Erin

    Weather she actually gets the job or not, this is a huge step she's taking to but herself out there. That she's letting herself be a role model for other women and girls is great, but it also could make her somewhat of a target. I don't know if I'd have the guts to step up and do this... I hope you get this job and enjoy it Ms. Tomas. I also have to disagree with David and Cindi though. Women have every right to be involved in a 'man's' sport. Men reff for women's, so why can't it be the same? My good friend played on the all-boys football team at my school for three years. If a women can play the sport, they can just as well reff it.

    August 25, 2013 at 8:10 am |
  27. Cap

    How does becoming a NFL ref prove that? I have never really understood this whole equality notion. Men and Women are NOT equal. There are specific physical and possibly mental traits one sex has that the other does not. The reason is, is the survivability of the species. Over millions of years, both sexes have had unique traits that attract the other sex so that we can continue thriving as a species. Men and Women are not equal, and I hate this notion and push to make them equal. Men and Women are uniquely different, even men from men and women from women. We are uniquely different and complimentary, and there are biological reasons for that! Stop trying to make us equal, its a rediculious notion that lives only in the heads of liberal feminists who live outside reality. Now saying this, there is nothing physically or mentally that would have ever kept a woman from being an NFL ref. I do believe there are physical limitations that keep women from actually playing in the NFL as anything other than a kicker or some other type of minimal role that does not subject them to the physical stresses of a football player that is in the middle of the action.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Thia

      That is a very good point..... they both have a "role" and by trying to make them equal is impossible. Even though they should both be able to work whatever job they qualify for, there is a fine line between that and equality. One isn't better, faster or stronger than the other they just do it in different ways.

      August 27, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  28. Jeff

    If women can do the job on the professional level then they should be given the opportunity. But, there should be no favoritism based on gender for men or women. Officiating in the NFL is as grueling physically as it is mentally. If she can handle both in a professional manner then let her earn the chance to be there.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  29. TeNeil

    I think its a good thing that they have a woman referee. Your sex shouldn't hold you back from a job. I also think that males and females should be treated equally.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  30. Andrew

    It shouldn't matter what gender you are. As long as she is being fair and making the right calls then I don not have a problem with it.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  31. Jordan

    Good for her to even think about going for the job! She is helping girls and women everywhere to believe that you can't let your gender determine what you can and cannot do!

    August 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  32. Brent

    If Thomas were to receive the job, I think it would be a great step forward in the movement for gender equality. I hope however that her would-be employers take into consideration that hiring her only because she's a woman is just as bad as not hiring her because she's a woman. It's the same principle, and I feel she should be hired first and foremost on her refereeing abilities.

    August 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  33. MaKayla

    I don't think it matters what sex. If girls want to be on the team why not let them be on the team?

    August 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  34. juan

    I think it is good that we have a female Referee.

    August 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm |