Any time I have been asked to join the ranks of “the boys” in writing or talking about sports on-air, I have always been asked to do so because “a female’s view on sports” was needed. This isn’t to say that I have been anything less than grateful for the opportunities, because “the boys” are usually more experienced in the craft. Nor am I ever offended. I just think it sounds funny. It sounds as if offering “the female’s opinion on sports” means that my interpretation of what a great quarterback’s stat line is would differ from my male counterparts’. Or it means that because I’m a girl I probably don’t pay attention to the advanced statistics involved in analyzing a basketball game. “Check out which NBA Baller Got a Love and Basketball Hip-Hop Housewives Chick Pregnant,” would be the tag-line for an article. I never look at it as giving my girly opinion on sports, but today, you will get my words from a female standpoint.
Lucas Oil Stadium is the home of the Indianapolis Colts, and apparently the latest stadium involved in an incident banning female reporters from locker rooms. According to Pro Football Talk, after the Colts’ 16-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, an usher outside the Jaguars’ locker room temporarily stopped three female reporters from entering. Michael A. Fox, the director of the stadium, issued a statement and a public apology for the “misunderstanding.” He claimed the usher in question “acted mistakenly on his own accord.” I hope no one tells this guy that women can vote or he may suffer a stroke.
Yahoo! Sports’ Graham Watson, one of the reporters involved tweeted the following:
— Graham Watson (@Yahoo_Graham) October 4, 2015
I do want to note that we did eventually get in and we were able to do our job after the man asked several males if it was OK if we got in. — Graham Watson (@Yahoo_Graham) October 4, 2015
She also stated that members of both teams’ PR crew apologized to the ladies. Alas, Roger Goodell and the NFL remain silent. I don’t blame them. Why kick up dust on a story that has been silenced already? We all know the NFL does not need any more bad press. I, for one, do not care to hear the league’s insincere and tardy apology or a press release written by a publicist that probably has a template pre-written for this type of situation. I know first-hand that the people hired to “secure” areas of a stadium don’t necessarily have to have a high level of credentials to do the job. Most are paid measly hourly salaries. This guy was described by Watson as “an old, out-of-touch geezer,” so I do believe he truly didn’t know better and that it shouldn’t reflect poorly on the Colts. But yet still, in 2015 to not know that women cover sports and are supposed to be allowed in locker rooms is amusing, especially considering the ladies were there as a part of a diversity in sports media convention.
Where is Alanis Morissette when you need her?
This next example, however, is one of the most blatant displays of sexism that I’ve seen in recent times. Mike Bell, the latest in a slew of folks getting themselves in trouble via social media, ripped into Jessica Mendoza on Twitter. As if calling the former softball player “Tits McGhee” wasn’t bad enough, the Atlanta radio show host offensively questioned Mendoza’s ability to call the Houston Astros-New York Yankees Wild Card game on Tuesday. What a ghastly slap in the face for the honor it was for her to be selected. She was the first woman ever picked to call a MLB playoff game. He eventually said it was a bad joke, deleted some tweets, and issued a heartfelt apology, blah blah blah. Even the Atlanta Falcons tweeted out how embarrassed the organization is by Bell’s comments.
Embarrassed by Mike Bell’s comments, given he’s on our flagship station. Inappropriate and disappointing. — Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 7, 2015
This isn’t the last time we will hear about something like this. Why would a man risk his career (he has since been suspended from his job) just to make unwarranted jokes about women in sports? Perhaps he felt threatened. It’s difficult enough to get a job in sportscasting, and here a little ol’ woman who obviously knows nothing about 95 mph fast balls from her moderate softball upcoming just takes a job historically held by a man. What’s next…women in front-lines protecting this country? I gasp at the thought.
Not to take away from Mr. Bell’s job, but maybe when you’re on radio in Atlanta, you should not be so quick to criticize someone who was chosen to call a nationally televised playoff baseball game on ESPN. I believe the word the kids use is “salty.”
I’ve been tweeting about sports before and got hit with a surly “go to the kitchen,” tweet from someone who obviously does not follow me, and was looking for “LOLs” and laughing emojis from people he’s never met before. I always find it funny when my sarcasm is lost on some people. For example, I recently facetiously tweeted, “Who is Jairus Byrd?” pointing to the fact that he’s been virtually unseen since training camp in 2014. I received several answers on exactly who Byrd is — my followers underestimating the breadth of knowledge I have on the subject. My voice is still unheard from time to time in conversations about the latest sports news, which may not change any time soon, but I have faith that one day it’ll be sought.
The sports world as we know it is changing every day. The Spurs have a woman as a full-time assistant coach. There is a female official in the NFL. Women are a staple on any good sports analysis show, whether it be local or national. Accept it.
To be so close to 2016 and folks conveniently don’t know that women are allowed access into locker rooms or to question a woman’s ability to call a game is preposterous. It may be a scary thought, fellas, but the next chick you sit and talk to may be able to recall the events of the 2010 Western Conference playoffs better than you can, and she might make you feel bad about it [winks].
i write about sports and stuff. Sports radio co-host. Work in pro sports. My opinions are not an endorsement of my employer. Don’t fine Marshawn Lynch.