The NFL Hired Its First Female Referee, and Major League Baseball Has Its First Gay Ump

by John Boone 1:14 PM PDT, April 07, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

College basketball season is officially over, with Duke defeating Wisconsin in the final round of March Madness. All we care about from all that is this, the saddest Teletubby ever:

But here’s something else we care about: This very progressive week that the sports world is having. The NFL has hired its first-ever female referee, while Major League Baseball saw their first openly gay umpire ump his first game.

WATCH: The crying piccolo girl is the real hero of March Madness

Photo: NFL

The referee is Sarah Thomas, who the L.A. Times reports will be among eight new officials (seven men, one woman) hired by the National Football League for the upcoming season -- and the organization’s first full-time female ref.

(She won’t be the first woman to ever officiate an NFL game -- another woman was, when the NFL resorted to using non-union refs amid contract disputes in 2012.)

Her résumé? Thomas first started officiating football games in high school, then proceeded to ref at the college level. In 2009, she was the first woman to work a bowl game. She’s also officiated preseason games and camps for the NFL. Back in 2013, she almost made it to the NFL, one of 20 officials vying for a position, but ultimately didn’t get the job then.

As for whether the players notice any difference between her and male refs? “When I walk up and have mascara on and maybe lip gloss, yeah, they notice the difference,” she told CBS. But that’s it.

NEWS: Wisconsin basketball player hilariously messes with the stenographer

Photo: Getty Images

Then there’s Dale Scott, who has been an MLB umpire for 29 seasons, and who came out as gay last year when he was profiled in the October issue of Referee magazine and included a picture of his husband of 28 years. He not only became the first openly gay official in Major League Baseball, but the NBA, NHL, and NFL too, according to OutSports.

“I think Major League Baseball has proven that it certainly isn't an issue with them,” Scott told OutSports. “I've worked three World Series, I've worked the playoffs consistently, I've been a crew chief for 12 years...I am extremely grateful that [MLB] has always judged me on my work and nothing else.”

This week, Scott umped his first game since coming out -- Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies -- and...nothing happened. No one protested. No one even mentioned it. It wasn’t a big deal, it just was. Which is how it should be.

In other sporting news, Ashton and Mila photobombed fans at a Dodgers game: