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Monday, August 6, 2012
Woman to officiate game

By Kevin Seifert

A woman will be part of an NFL officiating crew for the first time Thursday night, the league confirmed Monday.

Shannon Eastin, who has been a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, will work the preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). The news had been reported earlier by The Los Angeles Times.

Eastin was not immediately available for comment.

A resident of Tempe, Ariz., Eastin also has won six national judo championships. She was the youngest judo athlete ever to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, doing so when she was 11.

The NFL has begun using replacement referees this summer after locking out its permanent officials in a contract dispute.

The officiating team for the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night included officials who have worked college games and some professional games, such as in the Arena Football League.

By contrast, the first women to officiate any major U.S. professional sport occurred in the NBA in 1997.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.