Female athletes have long been regaled to second class citizens in the world of sports. That’s a fact, one that cannot be denied, argued, or otherwise debated. That progress has been made is also unquestionably clear, although the most memorable moment of the U.S. Olympic soccer team might well have been Brandi Chastain taking off her shirt in celebration and ESPNW is not exactly taking off.
ESPN is getting in the game – the women’s game, specifically. The past few weeks have been ripe with controversy over their latest endeavor, espnW, which will begin digitally in the spring (through a blog), and perhaps eventually expand to a television show or channel. The announcement of this news has caused severalfemale bloggers to protest in outrage that they already have a channel for them to watch sports on, and “It’s called ESPN.”
But do they really? I won’t lie, I’m not what you would call a sports fan, at least not when it comes to organized athletics. The only sport I follow at all religiously is tennis, and of course, when the Olympics come on, I’m on the couch for two weeks watching. And these patterns of activity are apparently the the point of espnW, according to the company’s Vice President Laura Gentile, who pointed out that more women …
As usual, I was perusing ESPN.com to catch up on what was going on in the sports world. Normally, I just read the news articles and check the box scores, but today on the front page there was an NFL preview, highlighting the conference that my beloved New England Patriots play in, so, of course, I just had to read it. Now for the most part the ESPN commentaries are quite good, if not way too long, when they stick to sports, that is. When they veer off into musings about pop culture and politics, things start to fall apart, which is exactly what happened with this latest commentary. The latest installment of Gregg Easterbrook’s weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback was bad all over, but the one section that was completely ridiculous was “SI Swimsuit Count” which tallies the number of naked women in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (which came out seven months ago, before the Winter Olympics). While this sophomoric concept might be better suited to a site like The Smoking Jacket, Easterbrook’s outright misogyny and lack of even the tiniest bit of frat boy humor makes this segment beyond redemption.
At the Nationals competition I watched Lindsey Van win her 15th national title. At one time she held the world record (for BOTH men and women) for ski jumping. Fortunately, since I’m a super celebrity (and I have an in with the cool peeps in Park City, Utah), I snagged Lindsey Van and chatted with her for a second after the competition to discuss where women’s ski jumping is.
Among other things, we discussed why women’s ski jumping isn’t allowed in the Olympics. She said:
“I’m not really sure why women’s ski jumping isn’t allowed. They’ve told us a lot of different reasons based on technical issues, but honestly I just think they’re scared to have women …