Commentary: Time for gender equality in sports

“Weird looking kitchen but OK.”

“She’s gonna call a penalty on somebody for something she remembered him doing six years ago.”

These are just some of the comments that have been made online about Sarah Thomas, the only female referee in the National Football League.

Thomas made history as the first female NFL referee and the first female to ref a playoff game.

Despite this, people are still making sexist comments. It’s 2019 and women are still fighting for equality, and this is why.

As a woman who watches the NFL on a regular basis, I’m not a minority. According to a CNBC article, women make up about 50 per cent of NFL viewers, but only about 33 per cent of the employees in the league. There’s never even been a female head coach or general manager.

When I was watching Thomas’ first playoff game on Jan. 13 between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers, it was briefly mentioned that this was the first time a woman was officiating a playoff game.

One quick comment was all she got.

Thomas has been refereeing football for 20 years. She’s been an NFL employee since 2015.

I know officiating a playoff game doesn’t happen in your first year or your second. Only the top refs are chosen to work playoff games and the Super Bowl.

It took her four years and all she got was one comment.

Had it not been for that comment, I might not have known.

Thomas tucks her hair up under her hat to avoid drawing attention to herself. It’s 2019 and women are still trying to blend in so they will be treated equally.

Every time we take a step forward, we’re pushed two steps backward.

“Flash forward to 2028, woman will be playing in the NFL, it will start with a kicker or punter and the NFL will be ruined. Women can’t let men have anything of their own.”

“Who’s making the family dinner?”

It’s these comments made by men online that piss me off. Any time women try to do something, men act like little boys whose toys have been taken away.

Those who say we don’t need to continue to fight for women’s rights just need to look at the comments online.

If they don’t change your mind, you’re clearly part of the problem.

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