Friday is now a day that will go down in sports history. On Friday April 3rd, 2015, the NFL announced that Sarah Thomas would be the first female official in the league. This would make the NFL the second of the big three American sports that have at least one female referee/official. The only other major U.S sport that doesn’t have a female official is the MLB. It’s been a long time coming for the NFL, and now that it’s happened, is it time for baseball to follow suit?
For years, women have fought for equal rights and opportunities. It’s the 21st century, and for the most part, things are equal. There are, however, naysayers to the whole ordeal. Why though? If a woman can serve in the military, why shouldn’t she be able to be a referee in professional sports? Sure, women can’t be directly involved in combat, but they’re likely put into the situation some day. They make decisions that can have a huge impact on how a fight is won and lost. Newsflash: It’s not the 1930s anymore. Get over yourself, and reserve judgement until she proves that she can’t do the job correctly.
It’s more than just morals, ethics, and values that play a part in this. Professional sports can’t just not hire someone because they’re a female. Yes, it’s wrong. It’s also against the law. That’s why things like the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) were formed, to prevent this from happening. The workplace cannot legally discriminate based on race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender. As long as Thomas can do her job and grades out as a solid official, who cares what sex she is? And, she’s qualified.
She’s earned her stripes. She started officiating college games in 2007 before joining the NFL’s developmental program. She has dome preseason scrimmages and a preseason game. She has earned her way here. It wasn’t just given to her so they could say, “hey, we brought in a woman official.”
So what’s stopping the MLB? Baseball isn’t a contact sport, and with improvements in technology, there should be nothing stopping women from being integrated in. Basketball (NBA has three woman officials) and football have made steps in the right direction, and it was more than just a “politically correct” stunt. It is advised to Rob Manfred, MLB’s commissioner, that he be a little bit more open-minded to the idea of a female umpire. Conrad McGorkin says in his son’s youth baseball league there was one female umpire. He specifically requested her for all of his games because she was the best.
For God sakes, if its good enough for Conrad, it should be good enough for Manfred.
Follow us on Twitter: @KCSportsNation
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @Sarah_Davis98