First Sunday in September

It’s not normally particularly interesting sports news when a new official is hired. This is a little bit different.

 

Burt LikkoBurt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California and the managing editor of Ordinary Times. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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23 thoughts on “First Sunday in September

  1. 1) Your link is dead.

    2) Based on context clues, I am assuming you are referring to the hiring of Sarah Thomas.

    3) The NFL generally doesn’t play the first Sunday in September.

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  2. It will be interesting to see how this goes with fans and sports writers.

    I still remember how sports writers, ex-players and so many fans argued so strongly that the hiring of Violet Palmer would destroy the NBA, and that doing so was needlessly putting her and players at risk.

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      • There was, but it was really blown out of proportion by the media. Paul was clearly not questioning her overall competence, but just reacting as players do to calls they don’t like, during the course of which he referenced her gender. If that’s the extent of the kind of “problem” that the NFL ends up having with Sarah Tomas, then the experiment (hopefully they’re more committed to this than just to regard it as an experiment, but…) will be going swimmingly.

        If that kind of thing is seen as an unacceptably big problem, then by that metric there will be issues. But it shouldn’t be. Players in male sports leagues are going to make isolated reference to the gender of pioneer female officials. So long as it’s not more widespread among players, and so long as coaches, teams, and the League stay thoroughly away from such comments, you’ll be doing as well as you can possibly expect to. There will be isolated references to officials’ gender by players within games.

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    • The same kerfluffle happened in the English Premier League with Sian Massey-Ellis, and if anything the post-hooligan culture there is (despite progress) still even more toxic with respect to race and sex than the NBA or NFL. The worst fallout of her tenure has been that a couple of fossilized commentators managed to get themselves put to pasture a few years earlier than expected. There has been a singular lack of riots, even when she has been involved in extremely controversial decisions.

      As Ms. Thomas has said, referees (with the exception of Ed Hochuli’s choice of sleeves) try to stay /out/ of the spotlight. So in principle, no one even notices them at all, much less what plumbing they might have.

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      • Just to be clear about the last paragraph, the snark about Hochuli was inserted by me. The general intent about “not being seen” was what I got from the interview I heard. She was very diplomatic regarding her expectations for how she would be received by her colleagues and by the fans, and didn’t have a bad word for anyone.

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