For the first time in National Football League history, an all-Black officiating crew will work a league game.
The NFL announced that the crew will work the league’s “Monday Night Football” prime-time game in Florida between the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams, NFL.com reported.
“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,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The crew will be led by referee Jerome Boger and includes four members of his 2020 officiating crew, ESPN reported. They are umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, side judge Dale Shaw and field judge Anthony Jeffries, the NFL announced.
Line judge Carl Johnson and back judge Greg Steed will round out the crew, according to the league. Both have officiated two Super Bowls in their careers and were part of the crew in February for Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
The move comes after team owners approved a resolution by the workplace diversity committee to improve hiring practices, The Washington Post reported.
Burl Toler, the first Black official in any major sports league, was hired by the NFL in 1965.
The Rams were the first team to integrate the NFL during its modern era, when they signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode in 1946, NFL.com reported.
Four of the NFL’s 17 referee/crew chiefs are Black — Boger, Ron Torbert, Adrian Hill and Shawn Smith, ESPN reported.
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