49ers’ Katie Sowers says NFL team told her it wasn’t ready for female coach

Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers, says she was told during an interview with a different NFL team that it wasn’t ready to hire a woman.

“I guess I would say that the honesty that was given to me when they were saying that I — not that I didn’t get the job, but they felt that the 49ers, because they knew how it was to have a woman on staff, would be a better fit for me. And that their organization was not yet ready to have a woman on staff,” Sowers said on FS1’s “Fair Game with Kristine Leahy.”

“He even went on to say that one of the coach’s came up to him and said, ‘Where are we gonna put her desk?’ And he said, ‘Where we put everyone else’s desk.’ But that was another indicator to him that this organization is far from being ready.”

Sowers, 33, became the second woman to become a full-time NFL coach when she was hired two years ago. She was also the first NFL coach to be an open member of the LGBTQ community. Kathryn Smith was the first woman to hold a full-time NFL coaching role as the Bills’ special teams quality control coach in 2016, the same year Sowers was an intern for Kyle Shanahan, the current 49ers head coach who was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator at the time.

While Sowers was hurt by what the person from the undisclosed NFL team told her, she also appreciated being told the truth.

“Although I hated hearing that, I loved the honest because it meant that the words that he was saying was coming from the foundation of the ignorance of the organization, but he understood the ignorance,” Sowers said. “I think oftentimes we get so caught up in hearing what’s politically correct and hearing all these words that just make us feel better when often it could be lies, and I’d rather hear the truth and hear the ignorance because that’s where we create change. It’s not the words that we need to change, it’s the mindset.”