Lauren Silberman Is Trying Out For The NFL – And I Wish Other People Weren’t Rude About It

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Lauren is going to an NFL regional combine as a kicker – and I think she’s amazing. | Source: Shutterstock.com

Let me take a second to tell you about a woman named Lauren Silberman. She was a longtime soccer player, went to MIT (aka she’s a genius) and even wrote her thesis there about sports and video games. Super cool, right?

Now she’s making history as the first woman to sign up to attend an NFL regional combine. Basically these combines are a chance for anyone to get out there and show their stuff for NFL scouts. Lauren will be trying out as a football kicker (you can check out her kicking skills by following the above link).

I’ll be honest – I don’t really watch football. I don’t totally know exactly how a football kick should look or what kickers do on the field besides kicking. But I loved listening to Lauren’s interview with NFL AM where she was really open about her desire to make a team, but also her hope to learn from other players and enjoy the experience. I think it’s awesome that she is going for it – but of course, not everyone can be happy for her.

I am actually getting super mad reading through the comments on NFL.com, so I should probably just stop. Oh, a selection of the joy that was in here to read? Well, people are totally positive this is only a publicity stunt, and even the fact that people have to “hope” that it isn’t just shows how people can’t really wrap their heads around her trying out.

Other insults are just so flimsy and it is clear that the sexism isn’t limited to football. Things like sweeping generalizations like football is a “man’s game” or that this situation is just ludicrous because there’s not a separate locker room for women. The NFL is a giant business. I think they could come up with something. Finally, I truly couldn’t believe that there were multiple comments stating that she shouldn’t try out because “women belong in the kitchen” – seriously?! What year is this?

I guess I want to specifically address people pointing out the safety concerns and also saying that she’s going to use this as an opportunity to sue the NFL if she gets hurt. I do think that sports safety is an incredibly high priority, but football has safety concerns for every single person involved. We should always be passionate about the safety of every single player, not only when it suits sexist beliefs that women aren’t strong or somehow want to cheat the organization.

Lauren isn’t just walking onto a field with no clue about what happens in football. She clearly has talent and knows about the sport and that getting tackled is a risk, so let’s just all trust her to make her own decisions. It’s patronizing for someone sitting at home to assume that they know how Lauren should keep herself safe better than she can.

Overall, the attitudes I read in those comments scare me. I don’t want us to be limiting opportunities for not just adult women, but for girls like Samantha Gordon in the future. I don’t know Lauren, but she seems like a determined woman and I bet she wants to be judged on her talents. She doesn’t strike me as someone who is hoping for preferential treatment. If anything, her trying out strikes me as someone who just wants equal treatment.

Luckily, there are some commenters in the thread who did show support for her and I’m tempted to log into my own Facebook and like every single one of them. My boyfriend actually brought this story to my attention and he thought it was really cool, so I’m glad that guys in my life are on my side about this. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Lauren at the combine – not only because she seems great and would be thrilled to succeed, but I’ll consider it a personal win to all those people who were hating on her.

Do you watch or play football? What do you think about Lauren trying out for the NFL? What did you think about how some people responded to this news? Tell us in the comments!

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3 Comments

  1. avatarDeysha says:

    I think she needs to give it up its freaking rediculous
    That she wants to be a mans sport if she was so
    Good at soccer then she should have stuck to that
    Women have even mma now and basketball and baseball
    And golf and soccer and plenty of other things leave
    The NFL alone you stupid girl I’m a woman by the way so this isn’t
    A man who is sexist no I’m a woman who is logical
    I am a huge football fan die hard Oakland Raider fan
    But if they start letting women in the NFL I think I will
    Probably say F football leave it to the men dumb b****
    this is the dumbest shit I have ever heard I hope she falls flat
    On her damn face

  2. avatarTayylove96 says:

    Because its like that episode of Degrassi where Jane was on the football team and got treated totally sexist but that scenario was a wee diff. (watch it to see what I mean). While I support her and all that jazz, football doesn’t have a woman’s league like others sport, because – business speaking- there is a slim market for it. I had this convo with my bf about the little girl football prodigy. He said he would like to see a WNFL, the odds of it being successful, or distinguished is slim just because of the world we live in. Just think of the WNBA other than Lisa Leslie and Kia Vaughn who do you know on any of the teams? Are the arena’s packed with crazed fans? No. And lastly if she was a man with the same skills would we be having this convo of how talented she is? Probably not. Its because she is not EXPECTED to have these talents does it draw attention. Like BLACKS not expected to BE SMART/TALENTED just a century ago. Ok, logistically let’s think this over: what exactly is she trying to do make a team? Let’s say she does. Where does she change; listen to the plays etc. They do all that in the locker room. Is she going to be in there with the boys!? Imagine if this was the other way around it would not be had. This might sound a little ignorant but it is true. What if the teams ritual is to slap butts like in Basketball, is she exempt? or does she go with it (harassment) ? These are important things to consider. Yes its good to get your foot in the door, but what happens when you get the other one in and you don’t know where to go? Let’s think calmly. Also let’s think as if this was a boy trying to get on a girls team. Way to make a start though.. seriously.

    • avatarLanah says:

      This year, I played for my high school’s junior team, and the coaches weren’t used to having a girl. The thing turned into kind of a joke like, “Guys put your hands on the chest of the person opposite you… Except you. Don’t do that.” or during wind sprints, “Tap the butt of the guy in front of you when you run past him… Uhhh…Wait… Never mind… Just tap their shoulder.” As weirded out as they were when I showed up, once they knew that I knew what i was getting into, it really did just turn into a joke when it needed to, but I was no different than the others. If she makes a team, they will find a way to make it work.

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