A group of referees will make history when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. The NFL has announced that this week's matchup will feature an all-Black referee crew for the first time in Monday Night Football history. This week's referee crew will feature umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries 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," NFL executive Troy Vincent said.
The league has made progress in diversifying its officiating body since Burl Toler became the NFL's first Black referee in 1965. Today, four of the NFL's 17 referee chiefs are Black. Two-thirds of the league's referee leadership team is made up of people of color.
Despite advancements in officiating, the league has continued to struggle when hiring Black coaches and general managers. Despite 70% of the league's players being Black, 40% of the head coaches hired from 2010 until 2019 were white. Moreover, 91% of newly hired offensive coordinators were white. Adding on, the league, there are only two Black general managers and no Black owners in the NFL.
“It’s often said for us that we’re progressing,” James "Shack" Harris said about diversity within the league.
“I don’t think ‘progressing’ is the word. We need results.”
Anderson, Maap, Johnson, Shaw, Jeffries and Steed will take the field together on November 23 at Raymond James Stadium.
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