Shannon Eastin is about to make history. With the NFL referee lockout still in progress Eastin will officiate the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Charges preseason game on Thursday night. Eastin at that time will become the first female NFL referee.
Eastin is an experienced referee who has served time in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and several high school and small-college leagues.
Replacement referees have become necessary as the league’s regular officials continue to argue over pay and other contractual issues. On Sunday replacement refs works the Hall of Fame game between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. The HOF game did not go as planned as an official accidentally awarded the coin toss to the wrong team and was forced 20 seconds later to reverse his original call.
League officials are currently meeting with representatives for the league’s officiating crew to come up with a long-term contract that will satisfy both sides.
NFL referee’s have been locked out of the league since June when their contracts officially expired and a new collective-bargaining agreement continued to elude them.
The last time an NFL referee labor dispute led to a meltdown was in 2001 when a dispute forced officials to miss the last exhibition game of the pre-season and the first regular-season game. Both sides in the 2001 dispute worked quickly to form a new contract once the regular season was under way.
Do you support female referee’s in the NFL? Do you think replacement officials will lose their jobs to league officials before the regular NFL season begins?