The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made history last week by being the first NFL team with two female full-time assistant coaches. Moral Javadifar and Lori Locust will assume their positions of assistant defensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach respectively, hoping to propel the Buccaneers to a winning season. As expected, this move by Tampa Bay was met with some controversy, especially in the comments section on multiple social media platforms.
Although this calculated move by Tampa Bay was expected to be construed as unappealing to some, the organization and coaches are standing behind their decision.
What can we understand from this decision and the critical responses to it? It is evident that even with great strides for female inclusion in the NFL, such as the case of Sarah Thomas, forms of sexism still persist in the NFL and their fanbase.
In order to create a sport landscape that promotes equality, in all professional leagues rather than just the NFL, it is important that equal opportunities are created within these associations. Research indicates that rather than restricting opportunities for women to gender-normative roles (e.g., cheerleading), we must begin to expand these roles into more masculine dominated areas.