Shannon Eastin was the first female referee of the National Football League. She was hired as a replacement official in 2012 during the lockout of full-time referees which began in June. She officiated her first game on August 9, a preseason match between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers. She officiated her first regular season game on September 9, between the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. She has spent 16 combined seasons officiating for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, high school games, and for the Arizona Cardinals Red and White game.
Although several NFL players expressed support for Eastin being the first female NFL official, several writers such as Darin Gantt of Profootballtalk.com and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times lamented the fact she broke this gender barrier while being a strikebreaker. The NFL Referees Association also stated that Eastin shouldn't be allowed to officiate NFL games due to her participation in the World Series of Poker.
Eastin is also active in judo. At age 11, she was the youngest judo athlete to train in the U.S Olympic Training Center. She has also won six national judo championships.
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