Ms. Shannon Eastin, a referee from the HBCU’s MEAC, is making history as the first female to referee in an NFL game when she serves as line judge in the Green Bay Packers preseason game against the Chargers in San Diego.
Eastin, a 17-year veteran as a football referee, has spent the last four working in the MEAC amongst Norfolk State, Hampton, Howard, Florida A&M, South Carolina State, and North Carolina A&T to name a few.
”I believe I am ready,” said Eastin. ”I’m a realistic person and I know what is realistic for me. I am not going to play football. I feel it is realistic for me to officiate. I make myself ready for any opportunity that comes my way. I will come in with my eyes wide open.”
Packer’s players, many whom were surprised, seemed to not mind the change in the tradition of referees.
“Female, male, dog, cat, as long as they’re calling the right calls and they know what they’re doing out there, it really doesn’t matter,” tight end Jermichael Finley told FOXSportsWisconsin.com in an exclusive interview. “It’s a person. She’ll see the same things as a man. She knows how to blow the whistle the same way. It’s going to be something weird to see, but you deal with it and just roll.”
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Packers running back Brandon Saine said. “I grew up in a predominantly female household. I was raised by my grandmother and my mother and I have two sisters. Women have always been a huge part of my life and I’m always going to be supportive of anything like that.”
To see Eastin in action catch the game Thursday August 9, 2012 at 8pm on ESPN.