Jen Welter coaching for the Arizona Cardinals
Jen Welter coaching for the Arizona Cardinals (source: ESPN)

It’s A Man’s World

Funny thing is that it isn’t, and the titled song said as much in the song. The sentiment hasn’t carried over so well in the major sports, primarily the NFL which has recently had a huge issue with domestic violence and mistreatment in general of the female population. With some of the more high profile cases involving Ray Rice and Darren Sharper making the rounds on the news, the Arizona Cardinals made a huge PR move on their own by hiring Dr. Jen Welter as an intern for the inside linebackers. Although the internship will only carry through training camp and the preseason, it’s a huge step in the movement of possibly having full-time female coaches in men’s professional sports.

Besides her being the first NFL female coach, she is also the first female coach ever in a men’s professional league when she was named the linebackers and special teams coach for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution. What makes the move so interesting by the Cardinals is that despite the high media attention it is getting, this was a hire based on skill and not for softening the domestic abuse attention being garnered by the NFL. Her skills are further highlighted by the great word of mouth coming from the Cardinals organization and its players, who claim she is just like any other coach. In a historic move, her first preseason game was also starring the first ever full-time female official, Sarah Thomas.

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The NFL is making strides to do the right thing and are not doing it in a way that is disparaging to women. They are hiring based on skill, rather than looking at gender. Women’s sports have not historically had the same problems hiring male coaches, with some of the more famous names being Geno Auriemma for the UConn Huskies and Detroit Piston legend Bill Laimbeer for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. The mentality is shifting, and the door is wide open for qualified female coaches to have a chance in a world where men have typically held a monopoly. Whether the recent media flaming of the NFL had anything to do with the door being knocked on won’t matter, as Dr. Jen Welter is one in what will be a long line of great female coaches in a male dominated world.

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