Jaguars DT: NFL hiring female official a publicity stunt like Michael Sam situation

Dec 18, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen
Dec 18, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen /

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks thinks the NFL hiring a female official is a publicity stunt in the same class as the ‘Michael Sam situation’.

The NFL definitely is in need for some good publicity and PR after a season that was full of domestic violence arrests from some of the league’s marquee players, like Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, among others.

Friday’s announcement that the league is hiring its first female referee, Sarah Thomas, qualified as just that for a league who should have made this announcement at least a decade sooner.

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While most met the news with a favorable response or “it’s about time” that wasn’t the reaction from Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks who thinks this is nothing more than a publicity stunt from the NFL to generate some goodwill.

“It’s just like the Michael Sam situation — if he wasn’t gay, he would have gone undrafted,” Marks told “Instead, the league drafts him because I think they are trying to monopolize every aspect of the world… the same thing with a female ref. For the league, it’s great publicity. The NFL is all about monopolizing every opportunity.”

The NFL is a business and they did monopolize on Michael Sam, his jersey was among the best sellers from the time he was drafted until the preseason and despite never appearing in an NFL game or sticking on a roster after the Dallas Cowboys released him from their practice squad.

Before Marks is drawn and quartered and labeled a sexist or homophobic, he’s not saying Thomas got this job because she’s a female or that she’s not qualified to recognize pass interference or an illegal formation when she sees it. He’s simply saying the league isn’t dumb enough to recognize a chance to take advantage of a good opportunity for some good publicity.

In fact, he’s championing for Thomas and hopes she does well in her new job.

“For women, it’s great,” Marks said. “Ain’t nothing wrong with it, especially as long as she knows what she’s doing…. I hope it works for her.”

As for Sam, he may draw the ire of some who take umbrage with his thoughts that Sam wouldn’t have been drafted if he wasn’t gay. Marks doesn’t think he’s talented enough to play in the NFL and considering he’s on Dancing With the Stars and didn’t receive a whiff of interest after working out at the NFL Veteran’s Combine in March, the NFL agrees with Marks assertion.

Nevertheless, his words are going to rub people the wrong way, so do you agree with Marks that it was a publicity stunt to hire a female official? Do you think the St. Louis Rams were pressured by the NFL to draft Sam?