Due to recent strike by the regular NFL referees, the NFL was forced to hire replacements refs to take their place. This group of replacement refs includes Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference referee, Shannon Eastin. A woman.
In the world of sports, color barriers have long since been collapsed, integrating athletes and referees of all different ethnicities. The same cannot be said for the gender barrier, however. There is the ever-present feeling of "boys only" in the sports world. Sure you have separate leagues such as the WNBA, but the lack of females in the NFL is apparent in front-offices, on the field, on the sidelines, and until now, in the officiating crews.
While she is not the first female ref in sports history (Violet Palmer earned that title in the NBA in 1997), she is the first female ref in NFL history. If you want to see this little bit of history, tune into ESPN this Thursday at 8pm to see her call the Green Bay Packers/San Diego Chargers game.