The NFL has been slow to adapt to other league’s social justice initiatives, but last night was major.
The Monday Night Football matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams made history by having an entire Black referee crew calling the game for the first time ever. Led by 17-year refereeing vet Jerome Boger, the crew included umpire Barry Anderson, side judge Anthony Jeffries, line judge Carl Johnson, down judge Julian Mapp, field judge Dale Shaw and back judge Greg Steed.
“This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game,” said Troy Vincent, a former cornerback who is now the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations.
When it comes to officials, the percentage of Blacks in that capacity is still deficient. Back in 2006, Boger was only the third Black referee in the league’s history when he was promoted from line judge during that season. However, Boger is glad to push the envelope forward and be the absolute best he can at his job.
“I am proud of my heritage and excited about my participation in this historic game,” Boger said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with a great group of Black officials and exhibit our proficiency in executing our assignment is something I am really looking forward to.”
The game went off without a hitch as the Tom Brady led Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams, 27-24.