49ers Propose Rule Requiring Women’s Locker Rooms for Female Coaches, Staff

AP Terrell Lloyd
AP Photo/Terrell Lloyd

The NFL will consider many different rule changes when the owners meet next week, however, one of these rule changes has nothing to do with football.

The San Francisco 49ers have proposed a new league rule, which “Requires all NFL stadiums by 2021 to have three separate and permanent locker rooms to be exclusively designated for female football staff on game days as follows: game officials, home club staff members, and visiting club staff members.”

According to Pro Football Talk:

San Francisco has a female coach on its staff in offensive assistant Katie Sowers, and her presence on the coaching staff may be why the 49ers were the team that wanted to make sure female staff members have the accommodations they need.

Sowers was the second female coach hired on an NFL staff; the first was Kathryn Smith of the Bills, and there are also women working in roles like trainers and medical staff members. The NFL also has a female on-field official in Sarah Thomas and a female replay official in Terri Valenti.

Why the NFL would need to mandate construction of three different bathrooms for what would be at most, three of four different female employees, is a mystery.

Not to mention the fact, that female employees and reporters are in the male locker rooms after the game, while players are changing. They’ve been granted that access because it was deemed to be prejudicial towards them and their careers, if they didn’t have the same access as male reporters and employees. If 53 men can’t have exclusive access to their own locker room after playing a football game, why should a mere handful of women get their own separate facilities?

And another question, each NFL team has a large complement of female cheerleaders, why wouldn’t the female employees and visitors be allowed to use their facilities?

Anyway, in this day and age, if the proposal has to do with equality for women there’s virtually no chance this rule doesn’t get adopted, regardless of how unnecessary or hypocritical it may be.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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