As we prepare for tomorrow’s protest in front of the NFL offices on Park Avenue in support of Colin Kaepernick’s obvious blackballing, today we learned that another barrier in the NFL had fallen.
Earlier in the preseason, the 49ers announced the hiring of Katie Sowers, the second full time female coach in the NFL. She followed in the footsteps of Kathryn Smith, who, as a special teams quality control coach for the Buffalo Bills in 2016, was the first full time female coach in the League. But Sowers had even bigger new to share when she revealed to OutSports that she was gay, becoming the first openly LGBT coach in the league, male or female.
No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are, said Sowers. There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation.
The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.
This is no publicity stunt as Sower’s resume, and the praise for her, speak for themselves.
Katie is a baller, 100 percent, said receiver Marquise Goodwin. She understands the game. Shes very familiar with the game. She played in a womens league and it may be a little different, but she definitely has the attitude it takes to be in that room. She brings a great vibe and she understands so Im happy that shes on staff.
Last year Sowers was a scouting intern with the Atlanta Falcons when she came to the attention of the team’s then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now the head coach of the 49ers. This led to her obtaining an internship with the team this year as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship and she impressed Shanahan to the point where he hired her as a full-time assistant earlier this summer.
Sowers joins a list of women making their mark in the world of football, women like Jen Welter, Lesley Visser (first female analyst), Amy Trask (first female executive), Ariko Iso (first full-time athletic trainer) and Sarah Thomas (the NFLs first female referee). These are trailblazing women who refuse to shy away from a sport dominated by men, and they’re proving that they’re some of the best in the game, period.