Female high school football ref speaks out about AZ Cardinals hire

Many people are saying Jen Welter has broken through a glass ceiling in the National Football League, and this move by the Cardinals is a major step in the right direction toward bringing women into the league.

So what does an Arizona woman who has broken a similar glass ceiling have to say about this? Anne Montgomery is the only female high school football ref in the state, and she says they have a long way to go.

Anne Montgomery has been a high school referee and crew chief for decades. She's also reported for the Cardinals and was a sports anchor here at Channel 10. She says the NFL didn't actually hire Jen Welter, and questions the league's motives in bringing her on board.

She was the first woman to become a high school referee in Arizona, one of the few female sports anchors in the 1980s. She now teaches communications at South Mountain High School. She says Welter's new role with the Cardinal's isn't what it seems.

"I want people to look beyond the headlines that say they hired a coach no shes been given an internship and by the time the season begins she will not longer be coaching with the team probably," said Anne Montgomery.

Anne says she's happy for Welter and has the utmost respect for the Cardinals, but questions the NFL's motives in bringing Welter on-board, especially given the recent bad press surrounding NFL players and domestic violence. 

"They sell about 3 billion dollars a year worth of jerseys and memorabilia and women are buying those, women buy that stuff for their husbands, and their sons, and maybe themselves, and I think the NFL realizes that they've angered a lot of women," said Montgomery.

After 23 years officiating in Arizona, Anne says that most high school coaches support and accept her on the field. She hopes the same for Welter but says the NFL still has far to go.

"I think it's great, and her credentials are stellar, and um you know I hope she catches on with the tea and is really a coach at some point," said Montgomery.

Anne still officiates high school football games throughout State of Arizona and says that her current job as teacher as the most humbling and challenging one she's had yet.

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