NFL names first female official

Jennie McNulty columnBY JENNIE MCNULTY

The NFL has hired its first full time female official!

Not only “about time,” but a great move. Who better to tell a man when he’s made a mistake than a woman? We do that very well. Gay or straight, we like to do that. And now, Sarah Thomas is getting paid to do it on national television!

Most of the guys in the league are seemingly cool with it (or, at least, publicly, they are). But, why not? It’s every player’s job to hate the refs. Her being a woman doesn’t matter. They’re all blind, right? Refs suck. Period. Boo.

A few players as well as other commentators, bloggers and average run-of-the-mill blowhards are saying that they hired her because of all the domestic abuse scandals last year. But she was in the officiating development program for the last two years — ya know — back when knocking the crap out of your wife in an elevator only rated a two-game suspension, which is not to say the move isn’t somewhat image motivated.

However, I think, like all things NFL, it’s about money. They are trying to get more women watching the game. In fact, more women have started watching and playing fantasy football. They’re selling more women’s jerseys, hats and other paraphernalia. More women are buying the NFL package on TV. All of these things mean more money for the league. And, THAT, is all Roger Godell (league commissioner) and the owners care about.

They talk about concern for player safety, concussions, etc. But, then they schedule Thursday night games. These guys experience the physical equivalent of a severe car crash every week. Three days’ rest is not enough. Now, they’re scheduling games in London (Englad!) — even for West Coast teams. The travel for which totally throws these guys body clocks off. And, their bodies are their instruments. Jet lag throws off my game and I tell jokes for a living. But now, they get an extra night of commercial ad sales and another continent interested in the game. And, all of that means more loot for the league.

But, I don’t want to rain on Sarah’s parade. It’s an awesome achievement and I think it’s fantastic that they hired her. And, you know she’s good or they wouldn’t have. That would have been stupid. She’ll be watched closer than a gang member at Saks Fifth Avenue. In fact, John Harbaugh, Baltimore Raven’s head coach said, “We had her in pre-season last year. She did a good job. She might be one of the better ones we’ve had. So it’s about time.”

Last season, during a Cleveland Browns mini-camp that she worked Thomas said, “I am a female, but I don’t look at myself as just a female. I look at myself as an official.”

And, on a recent “Good Morning America” appearance she said, “Don’t go out to try to prove somebody wrong. Go and do things whether you’re female or male, black or white, do it because you believe in yourself and you know you’re there to do the job.” Amen, sister!

It’s a great lesson for all of us. You may not work in a male-dominated field but, let’s face it ladies, we live in a male-dominated world. And, we have to just keep doing our thing. Put your head down and keep going. Well, not for Sarah, she needs to keep her head up. Eyes on the game and all.

Sarah Thomas is a groundbreaker — or glass-domed-roof breaker. I’m very happy for her and happy that they hired her. Come to think of it, I’m sure no dude is going to want to be the first guy flagged by a chick. So, I’m hoping she does all the Detroit Lions’ games. We had over 30 penalties that would be under her purview last year. See? She’s already instilling discipline. But, rest assured, the first offside she calls on my Lions, I’ll hate her just like the rest of those blind bastards out there. That’s what equality is all about.

Jennie McNulty was named one of Curve magazine’s Top 10 lesbian comedians. She can be heard weekly as co-host of LA Talk Radio‘s “Cathy Is In: The Cathy DeBuono Show.”

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