PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – You may not recognize the name Jennifer Welter, but she recently broke the gender barrier in football by being the first woman to play a non-kicking position in professional football as she played running back for the Dallas Revolution of the Indoor Football League.
The Senior Vice President and Co-Owner of the Revolution is Pittsburgh native Charlie Hildbold, and he joined Starkey and Mueller on The FAN to tell us how his team decided to offer Welter the chance to play on their team.
“We initially talked to her… back in August or September looking for really anything to help us out, drive up attendance, get some publicity. This is the second year for this organization, and we’re always looking for ways to improve attendance,” Hildbold said. “Initially, we thought, ‘Let’s just do this for publicity, sign the first female and see what happens.’ Her main thought was, if I can do this by showing that women like football and can play football, maybe she can help turn people’s head towards there needs to be more opportunities for young girls to play.”
You can see the video of Welter getting the ball three times in goal line situations and getting crushed by her opponents, and Hildbold responded to whether or not they were willing to put her back in and take responsibility for whatever happens.
“Yeah, just like we’d take responsibility for any other player that’s out there,” he said.
And when asked if they have legal clearance for Welter, Hildbold added, “She signed a contract like any other player would that has the same stipulations of any other player in our entire league has. We went through the exact process we would for literally any other player.”
The game Welter played in was only a preseason game, so we asked Hildbold if she’ll make the team for the regular season.
“We’re anxiously waiting to find out if she’s gonna make the team,” he said. “That’s a coaching decision, that’s a football operations decision. From a business standpoint, we’d honestly have to sit there and say, we’re getting such good publicity out of this, she’s on national talk shows, it’d be foolish of us to say lets let her go. Ultimately, that’s not my decision, that’s not any of our decisions, that rests solely with our coach and our coaching staff. If they feel based on what they saw that she’s worthy of playing, then who are we to say otherwise?”
Listen to the rest of the interview below to hear more from Hildbold on letting Welter play for their team against the men: