In particular, a very historic moment, with the first female nfl referee, calling shots in the nfl championship game dead, spin’s julie, decaro is with us this morning to tell us more about the career of nfl ref, sarah thomas, and how she scored that coveted role good morning. Julie good morning, so one of the biggest news moments for the upcoming super bowl has already been the announcement that sarah thomas is going to be the first woman to officiate the big game on sunday. What can you tell us about her, and why is this such a significant moment? Well, you know the nfl has been not forward thinking necessarily when it comes to diversity, both on and off the field. We’Ve been having this debate about why we don’t have more black head coaches in a league. That is something like 80 black, and you know if so women are even farther behind when it comes to being involved in the nfl. So the first black referee, a man named johnny greer didn’t referee, his game, his first game until 1988 that’s fairly recently. So you know the idea that a woman who i think she did roughed her first game in 2019 that’s when she first came on my radar. That’S when we first started seeing her on a regular basis, she’s the first full time, uh official in the nfl that’s a woman – and you know, she’s – been singled out as one of the best that’s what they put on the field during the super bowl.
They try to pull their best uh. You know, officials from all different areas, whether it’s a referee or a down judge, and she is going to be the down judge in the super bowl, which is a big honor for her, and you know, sort of in the nfl’s way. I think of putting the stamp of approval on her that women can also do this job well, that’s good to hear. Why do you think that it’s taken so long to see a woman? You know working with that officiating crew in a major sports championship? Well, i think there’s a couple things i mean. The first thing is like i said: the nfl has traditionally been a boys club and especially a white boys club, so so there’s that issue, you know it’s always hard to be the first one through the wall. The first one to smash the glass ceiling. The other thing, though, i think, is that you know it’s so true that you need to see something to know that you can be it and when little girls out there who love football don’t, see female officials on the field. You know it sort of impacts. How many women actually try for it and how many women go into officiating and go to official school and and learn? You know how to start get themselves in the pipeline to work their way up to the nfl, so um it’s great, that she’s gon na be out there, because representation really does matter when you’re talking about getting more women in the pipeline.
So do you think the nfl is doing enough to make female fans feel a little bit more included? No, i mean look. Women are 50 of the fan base, the nfl’s come out and said 47 percent of the fan base. In recent years, the nfl has been growing only because the number of women that are coming to the game, and so while we do have these things like we see sarah thomas code, you know officiating the game. On sunday um we see more coaches, particularly bruce arians. In tampa putting women on his staff there’s going to be two women coaches on the sidelines during the super bowl for the bucks, but there are other issues. For you know, roger goodell gave his state of the nfl speech the other day. Didn’T mention chad wheeler. Who is this former seattle seahawks player, who they’ve now cut ties with? Who who beat his girlfriend and she looked like she’d, been in a car accident? Afterwards, the images were all over the place. We’Ve got antonio brown playing in the super bowl and no one really talks about the fact that he’s been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment and domestic violence by multiple women, and i think these kinds of things matter to women when they’re watching the game. I know there’s a lot of people who say i just want to watch the game and forget about all that. But if you’re part of a group that you know the nfl sort of routinely ignores violence against your group or or racism against your group or homophobia.
Or whatever it is, it makes it more difficult to concentrate on just the game and enjoy just the game, so i think the nfl given how much of their audience is made up of women really needs to do a better job. Are there any other ways that you can think of that women are are making their way or strides of inclusiveness? Inclusiveness in the nfl? Well, like i said, we’re starting to see a lot more women on the sidelines right so on sunday, we’re going to have lori locus and mural javadafar, who are the defensive line, coaches and the strength and conditioning coaches respectively for the bucks. But it seems like it’s, a team by team situation right, so you have someone like bruce arians who’s received awards from women’s organizations for including women on his staff and then you’ll see. You know, other organizations that don’t have women anywhere from top to bottom. So it feels like we’re starting to see women make these these entrances these entrees into the nfl in places where we’re sort of surprised to see them. You know we saw katie sauers last year in the super bowl um washington has just hired um jennifer king who’s going to be, you know, heading up one of their departments, so those are great to see. But you know in the grand scheme of things when it comes to issues, i think that women care about, i think the nfl is still struggling well, it’s good to at least you have this bright moment for sunday for sarah and sarah had a message.
She’S put it out, as quote to do it because you love it don’t, do it, because you want the recognition. What are your thoughts on that yeah? I mean, i think, that you know most people who are the first ones through the wall sort of are doing it because they just want to do that job right i mean you see this all the time in people who are the first, that you know i Just want to be, i just want to be an astronaut, i don’t care about being the first female astronaut or i just want to be. You know the first female i just want to be an actor. I didn’t want to be the first female actor to win an award or whatever it is um, but i think that you know well well to her it’s, just i’m sure part of her doing her job um and doing a job that she loves to do. For other women, it really does make it see that and so. Well, you know she doesn’t necessarily need to be that. I i do think it’s great, that the media is paying attention, because this kind of stuff does matter presentation matters. It does matter. Thank you. So much for joining us julie.