As more and more women appear on television sports networks, I find myself dealing with a quality versus quantity situation. The number of females covering sports is up, but are the representatives up to par?
I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus here, and I’m DEFINITELY a feminist and all about women cracking the glass ceiling etc. etc., but what is up with some (most) of the women in sports media? Whether it’s the inability to ask a question (“The first half looked like it was tough on your defense, coach.” Points mic at coach for response), getting embroiled in a sex scandal with a superior (the ESPN production assistant sitch ), or having a sex tape floating around (thanks for everything, Erin Andrews), it’s no wonder people aren’t inclined to listen to a female talking sports.
This is particularly frustrating for me, because I am both female AND competent. And I love nothing more than to argue about sports (and win said argument). I have a number of idols in the industry (Lisa Salters, to name one, is incredible), but I find that a large number of those employed and actively showing up on television screens across America aren’t helping out the plight of the female in sports media.
To elaborate on the ESPN scandal I mentioned earlier–MLB analyst Steve Phillips was fired by ESPN Sunday night for his affair with 22-year-old production assistant Brooke Hundley. I tip my (incredibly stylish) cap to ESPN for cutting off its business relationship with Phillips for being a poor representative of their network. Scandals have long been shoved under the proverbial rug (tarp?) when they concern a high-powered man, so it’s refreshing to see ESPN publicly separating itself from Phillips.
It would seem like things are moving forward–the male superior is going down for his wrongful actions, and the subordinate female is not the disgraced owner of the spotlight this time!
On Monday, it was announced that Brooke Hundley would no longer be working at ESPN either. Not only was she involved in this ill-fated affair, but according to a police report, Hundley began calling Phillips’ wife, Marni, after Phillips broke off the affair, then sent a disturbingly graphic letter in which she described both her relationship with Phillips and the specifications of his birthmarks. You can’t tell me that’s going to add any points to the women-should-be-respected-in-sports-media column.
So there’s the problem. Women pave the way for future female generations, that’s the way it’s always been, but I’d hate to lose my arguing credibility because of other females’ miscues. If you’re going to lump everyone in my gender together, I’d feel a lot better if the women laying all that important groundwork were fully equipped for the job.