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San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers said she was told by one unnamed NFL executive during an interview that his team wasn’t ready to hire a female coach.
In an interview on Fox Sports 1’s “Fair Game with Kristine Leahy” set to air Tuesday night, Sowers recounted the incident before she took her job as an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2017.
“They felt the 49ers, because they knew how it was to have a woman on staff, that it’d be a better fit for me — that their organization was not yet ready to have a woman on staff,” Sowers said.
“(The unnamed team executive) went on to say that one of the coaches came up to him and said, ‘Where are we going to put her desk? ‘He said, ‘Where we put everyone else’s desk.’ But that was another indicator to him that this organization is far from being ready.”
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Sowers said the rejection stung at first but ultimately she was grateful for the experience.
“Although I hated hearing that, I loved the honesty,” Sowers said. “Because it meant that the words that he was saying was coming from the foundation of ignorance of the organization. But he understood the ignorance. Oftentimes we get caught up in what’s politically correct and hearing all these words that make us feel better … when often it could be lies. I’d rather hear the truth and ignorance. That’s where we create change.”
Sowers, 33, was originally hired full-time as the 49ers’ offensive assistant working with the wide receivers in 2017, becoming just the second female coach in the NFL at the time. She built a rapport as an intern with head coach Kyle Shanahan during his time with the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator.
Sowers played pro football in the Women’s Football Alliance and helped the U.S. win the women’s world title and gold medal in 2013.