Finally She’s One Of The Boys

Updated: April 23, 2006




Another small step

this weekend for

Violet Palmer

it took her

9 years

it took women

almost Forever

9 years ago Palmer was named an NBA referee, and became the first woman to ever officiate in any major sport in American history. Then she had to wait 9 years before the NBA finally decided she was ready to referee the Playoffs. Now this weekend she becomes the first woman to ever officiate in the championship series of any sport.

That Violet Palmer

is a Black woman

makes it that much nicer

here in the Box

Violet Palmer now 41 remains the NBA’s only woman among 62 NBA referees. There was no where to check if any of the other 61 had to wait 9 seasons before they got a chance at working the Post Season but you can safely bet they probably did not.

But you really have to think back to 1997 to put her achievement in adequate perspective. Put yourself in her court shoes. Walking on to the Hardwood for the very first time to officiate an NBA game amid all these ‘giant’ basketball players only too ready to try and intimidate any official let along the first woman any of them had ever seen on an NBA court.

It took Courage

it took Determination

it took Skill

it took Self Confidence

And Palmer did and has kept doing it well ever since. 9 long seasons. If the NBA and Commissioner David Stern were Smart they would let Violet Palmer referee all the way to the NBA Finals.

But if they were Smart they would not have made her wait 9 seasons to be chosen for the Playoffs.

Yes yes we could give you lots of details about Palmer’s impressive rise and her background. The stuff you’d expect in a typical sports article at this point but the Box isn’t typical sports ( neither is BASN ) we’d rather honor Palmer’s achievement by staying with the theme Women Officials in Sports.

The NBA like all the sports leagues are always trying to extend their Brand. Attract even more fans. Make More Money. For all Sports attracting more female fans is a current opportunity. At best 20% – 25% of sports fans in America are women if even that. Probably far less.

Imagine if football, basketball and baseball could get that figure up to 50%. That would be a staggering increase in their fan base. Again not 50% of all women rather 50% of fans that follow each sport. And contrary as it may appear at times far less than all men follow any particular sport.

How to attract more women ??

It is not going to happen by integrating female players on any of these teams. Forget that as an option. It will not happen and it makes no sense for any of these sports. Rather the leagues regularly look for promotional opportunities.

Well guess what

The best and most logical way to get the attention of more women and display genuine interest in more women becoming fans is to put women on the basketball field, and the gridiron and the baseball field …..

……. as exactly what Violet Palmer is. An Official. Referee, line judge, umpire, etc., etc.. The very fact that even here in 2006 it would be considered “radical” if any of these sports announced long term programs to insure that even just 10% of their game officials would be women by 2016 ten years from now tells us Volumes about the state of Society even in the 21st century.

And we’re not taking about

Afghanistan or Iraq or China

but about USA

If these rich white guys who own ALL the teams and control all the leagues really did have the talent for marketing they think they do, and if they had a shred of social consciousness, or God forbid saw sports as more meaningful than a way to make even more Dough and to amuse themselves …

…. if the owners and the leagues ever really Got It they would see all the benefits to be gained by putting more Women out there as game officials. The reality is we are left to ….

Praise and Compliment

Violet Palmer

the only Female Official

in any major American male sport

among hundreds of Officials currently

and thousands and thousands

in all of Sports history

Violet Palmer remains

the only One.


Friday night Box Favorite Alfonso Soriano became the second MLB player this season to hit THREE Home Runs in a game this season powering the Nationals over the Braves 7-3 and yes he did it in RFK Stadium one of the worst HR ball parks in the Majors.

Alfonso joins the Cardinals Albert Pujols who did the same against the Reds less than a week earlier.

What is sad about Soriano’s grand achievement is that it will probably make it that much less likely he will be able to escape from Washington, DC before this season ends. But we can still Hope. Maybe it will make other teams like the Mets willing to make a serious offer to pry him free. We’ll see.

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….