Dear men in sports,
One of the best things about sports is its ability to bring people together. Once COVID-19 suspended sports in March, fans were unsure when they would be able to cheer on their favorite teams. However, now that the NFL, NBA and MLB are all back in action, a sense of normalcy has returned as fans root together again.
However, when a collective fanbase comes together to bring negativity, the results are chaotic. Depending on who is on the receiving end of those boos, that’s when sports shows its ugly side.
It’s no secret that men’s basketball, football and baseball are the most popular sports in the country. Although it may be surprising to some, women also are into those very same sports.
Just like every man that gets involved in sports media, women choose the profession because of their love for the game and desire to deliver the news to fans. Some sports journalists are lucky enough to be so credible that they get to vote in the media portions of league awards.
With great power comes great responsibility.
As these members hold the fate of players’ legacies and contracts with their votes on whatever they feel is right, not everyone will agree with their choice and sometimes the disagreements escalate.
When the NBA released its media ballots for the season awards, many speculated as to which member didn’t vote Los Angeles Laker, Anthony Davis, forward to any all-NBA team. It was a discovery that puzzled many NBA — particularly Laker — fans, as Davis had a dominant season alongside Lebron James, who are en route to clinching the Lakers the best record in the Western Conference.
When the NBA announced who voted for who on Sept. 19, it was discovered that the member was Maria Taylor, an ESPN host, and what ensued revealed exactly what is wrong with this industry.
To put it lightly, men are trash when it comes to their treatment of women in sports.
People hounded Taylor for her decision, with many questioning why she had a vote in the first place. She admitted that it was a simple mistake in forgetting to write Davis’ name. However, the outrage seemed to be about more than just a bad vote.
The following day, the ever so knowledgeable Jason Whitlock wrote an article on Outkick where he claimed that Taylor only made it to her position because of her looks.
“Taylor is tall, attractive and quite personable on television,” Whitlock wrote. “The 33-year-old Taylor would not be the host of NBA Countdown, nor would she vote on the league’s most prestigious awards, if she were short, unattractive and grumpy.”
At the same time, Whitlock also took shots at another ESPN employee, Katie Nolan. He claimed that Nolan used her looks to secure a high-paying job — and just to drive his point across, wrote an entire article about Nolan a day later, stating that she was not deserving of her salary and awards because of her “white-hot privilege”.
First off, Jason Whitlock can shut the f--- up.
The hill he chose to die on goes to show that women still aren’t treated with respect in sports media.
Taylor and Nolan have proven themselves to be deserving of their jobs. Since joining ESPN in 2014, Taylor catapulted herself to the top sideline reporter of the network’s college football coverage and now, host of the NBA countdown. After starting a blog while bartending, Nolan made it to Fox Sports and hosted her own show, which she won a Sports Emmy for. Now, she appears and hosts on multiple shows across ESPN.
Saying that these women made it this far, because of their looks is the tired way of saying that men like Whitlock are jealous.
His argument goes to show that women can’t win. If people don’t think the woman on their screen is pretty, they’ll want her gone. But if she is just pretty enough, then she can be seen on TV. But if her role expands, she only got there because of her looks.
As a man trying to get into sports journalism, we need to do better. Women are already at a disadvantage because men can’t seem to handle hearing their takes on air, so it doesn’t help when those in the industry won’t even accept their hard work paying off.
For the men that can’t handle a woman talking on ESPN or any other sports platform, it’s time to grow up.
Women deserve a seat on the roundtable, because they have to work night in and night out, and no, it’s not because of how they look.
A male reporter, tired of this s---