NFL announces first all-Black officiating crew for Rams-Buccaneers game
The NFL announced on Tuesday that there will be an all-Black crew to officiate when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a first in league history, according to a press release.
Veteran referee Jerome Boger, umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed will officiate Monday’s game.
Together the group and has a total of 89 seasons with the league and has officiated a combined total of six Super Bowls, according to The Associated Press.
“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 vice president of football operations Troy Vincient said.
The league put in place new assignment guidelines based on geography to increase safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, thus, the historic group was able to come together for the game. Under the new guidelines, officials are able to work games that are closer to their homes when necessary, according to the AP.
Burl Toler was named as the league’s first Black official in 1965 and served as a head linesman for 15 years, according to the NFL.
The news comes after the NFL this summer committed $250 million over 10 years to social justice initiatives following the police killings of Black Americans George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.