A Sporting Chance

Since the relatively recent advent of radio, and subsequently television, broadcast journalism is an industry that has skyrocketed in modern popularity. This industry, specifically in sports broadcast, tends to be majorly dominated by a male presence. Large paying markets with high viewership like Los Angeles and New York City are especially lacking a female sports broadcast presence. Why? What causes young female journalists to diverge to a different sector of news and away from the business of sports coverage?

I present a simple answer. Firstly, women are belittled for not knowing enough about sports; contradicting, they’re also belittled for knowing sports too well, a compromise in the typical “men’s club” that sports have been treated like for decades. I would find it logical for women to avoid the ordeal entirely, not willing to brave the rude and nasty comments from others simply due to their gender.

Solely upon attempting to research women in the field of sports broadcast, I found several articles ranking the looks of the top ten sideline reporters. It seems, either way, women cannot win. Apparently, no matter a woman’s merit, she can only be considered on how she appears physically.

Oh, you’re not aware that former Jets quarterback, Joe Namath, was a first-round pick in the draft of ’65? What about the time the Quebec Nordiques packed up and moved 2000 miles to the West overnight, became the Colorado Avalanche, and still managed to play in a Pepsi branded rink? I’m willing to bet that American Sports Broadcaster, Lesley Visser wasn’t aware of that useless sports trivia either. However, Lesley Visser has covered 28 Super Bowls, 29 US Open (tennis), 12 NBA Finals and 7 World Series games in her 44 and ongoing year career. She also became the first woman to cover the World Series as well as the only woman to handle the Super Bowl Trophy presentation. Not only this, but she’s the first female recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, all according to her own website. Thus proving women are perfectly capable of sports broadcast excellence; so what’s the issue?

Well, another simple answer. People are uncomfortable with a woman presenting sports. This can be attributed to whatever you wish to call it; however, whatever name it goes by, it is the same issue. A systematic, ill-treatment of women that has placed obstacles in the way of women everywhere attempting to succeed. This just allows society to belittle women for being female. One might go so far as to say that femininity in our society is such a played up concept that it tells women the only thing that they’ll ever be valued for is their appearance, anything outside of their looks is treated as ill-will. I, frankly, refuse to believe that this is how it will continue. As a relatively young person, I haven’t got much of a choice but to remain optimistic for our future as a society. Hopefully, we’ve still got a Sporting Chance.

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