The National Football League announced this week that it will not disqualify the first ever female referee from officiating games, noting that her past poker play in the World Series of Poker does not hamper her ability to rule on games.
The referee in question, Shannon Eastin became the first female referee in the sport's history on Thursday night as she officiated the San Diego Chargers/Green Bay Packers preseason game. She was given the opportunity because the league's standard referees are locked out because of a labor dispute with the NFL.
The locked out refs tried to cause a stir by noting that Eastin had played in the World Series of Poker in 2006 and 2007. The participation is not a violation of any sort of law, but the NFL has a strict anti-gambling stance.
In a statement the NFL addressed the issue saying: “The NFL does extensive background checks on prospective officials, including the current group of replacement officials. All of them have passed the NFL’s rigorous screening process, including Shannon Eastin. Past participation in an event such as a poker tournament does not disqualify a person from consideration as an NFL game official.”
Good for her.
She did a great job last night, by the way.