Eastin breaks NFL’s on-field gender barrier

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Eastin spent most of the first half straddling the line markers and keeping track of the time, without much action on her side of the field.

Things picked up in the second half, when she had to break up a small skirmish between players on a punt and whipped her flag to the middle of the field for a holding call late in the third quarter.

Eastin heard a few boos early in the fourth quarter from the hometown fans for a pass interference call on San Diego’s Corey Lynch _ a call she appeared to get right _ and later signaled touchdown when Green Bay’s Marc Tyler dived in from 1 yard out.

Eastin added final TD signal on a 1-yard run by San Diego’s Curtis Brinkley and was on the spot for a fumble recovery by the Chargers near Green Bay’s bench in the closing seconds, though she didn’t have to climb into the pile to make the call.

Eastin joins a small group of women to crack the officiating ranks at the highest levels of sports.

Violet Palmer, one of Eastin’s inspirations, began officiating NBA games in 1997 and is still in the league.

Bernice Gera became the first woman to work in baseball’s minor leagues, serving as an umpire in a New York-Penn League game in 1972.

Pam Postema umpired major league spring training games in 1989 and, thanks to a push by commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, made it up to Triple-A for six seasons. She was fired a few months after Giamatti’s death, filed a sex discrimination suit against baseball and settled out of court 5 1/2 years later.

The locked-out NFL Referees Association said earlier Thursday that Eastin should be barred from working any league games because she once participated in the World Series of Poker. Should she be hired permanently, Eastin would be barred from such events in the future as part of the NFL’s gambling policy.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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