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Amanda Sauer-Cook is the first out pro-football referee

Sauer-Cook married her wife last year. Now she’s a center judge in the AAF.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Miami (Ohio)
Amanda Sauer-Cook has worked as a center judge in the Big Ten before becoming a center judge in the AAF.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Amanda Sauer-Cook has broken ground as a football official on a number of levels, and now she’s the first publicly out gay referee in professional football.

Sauer-Cook is working the center judge position for the Alliance of American Football in the AAF’s inaugural season. Just last year she married her wife, Michelle.

Football Zebras has the story:

Before she joined the college circuit, Amanda and her daughters moved to her hometown in Pittsburgh. It was there that Amanda met her future wife, Michelle Cook, one of her daughter’s teachers. Becoming close friends for years before they developed a relationship, Amanda and Michelle shared a love for the game. At the time, Michelle was a running back for the Pittsburgh Passion, a team in the Women’s Football Alliance.

The two women have bonded over football, and Amanda told Football Zebras that Michelle gives her insights from a player’s perspective when they talk about officiating the game.

“She brings a great perspective of being a player when we discuss fouls or other issues that may arise in the field,” Amanda said.

The coordinator of officials for the AAF is Steve Strimling, the Pac-12 referee who came out publicly on Outsports a couple years ago. Strimling has consistently provided opportunities for a diverse range of officials across his career.

He will be a speaker at Outsports Pride this June, talking about being out in big-time football.

For Amanda Sauer-Cook’s story, which was also written by out gay football official Joshua Lewis, head over to Football Zebras.