NFL Hires First Woman Referee

Sarah ThomasThe NFL announced on Thursday that Sarah Thomas will become the first full-time female referee in league history. The 41-year-old Thomas officiated some NFL team minicamps last year, and was also the first woman to officiate a college bowl game in 2009. She will be working as a line judge when the NFL kicks off its 2015 season in September.This is an encouraging sign of progress from the NFL, which faced heavy criticism for its handling of running back Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident last summer. While the league still has a ways to go to regain women’s trust, hiring a woman into a visible role that no woman has held before is a significant step in the right direction.For her part, Thomas is thrilled and humbled by her new job, though she says she never intended to bust any barriers: “I’ve never set out to do that, but I’m telling you it’s an honor. And I’ll just say, for anybody, male or female, go and do something because you love it, not because you’re wanting to prove somebody wrong or you want recognition for it.”