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View Full Version : Under Covered - (article on womens sports, title IX, etc)


Crazy Canuck
Jan 25th, 2003, 06:47 PM
Sorry if this has already been posted, but I thought that it was relevant to some discussions that we have had on here in the past:


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/rick_reilly/news/2003/01/23/life_of_reilly/

Under Covered

Posted: Thursday January 23, 2003 2:43 PM



If you are a woman, there are only three ways to get the sports world to notice you:

1. Strip down to your panties and bra and wrestle over beer.

2. Play crappy tennis but look hot pulling the second ball out of your briefs.

3. Tweak Hootie's nose.

Break records? Win at unthinkable rates? Push the envelope of female athletic achievement? Forget it, sweetheart! How 'bout a boob job?

Exhibit A: The Connecticut women's basketball team wins its 55th straight game last Saturday, breaking the alltime women's record. But unless you happened to get the feed from the Connecticut Public Television network, you couldn't see the game live. ESPN will show men fishing heroically, and Fox will show a man trying to outrun a giraffe, but televise one of the landmark events in women's hoops history? Sorry, baby, you haven't come a long way.

Exhibit B: Tennessee's women's basketball genius Pat Summitt quietly wins her 800th game on Tuesday of last week, becoming the first woman and only the fourth Division I coach to do it. Nationally, it made all the splash of a marshmallow landing in a bog. When North Carolina's Dean Smith hit 800 in 1994, there was so much coverage, you'd have thought he'd just returned from Mars.

"I'm surprised she hasn't gotten more attention for it," says no less than John Wooden, the former UCLA coach who is one of Summitt's biggest fans. "She's only 50. She could win many, many more games." In fact if she coaches as long as Smith did -- until she's 66 -- and keeps winning at her current pace, she'd blow by Smith like he was roadkill and wind up with more than 1,200 wins. Hey, maybe then she'd get on Live with Regis and Kelly!

Exhibit C: At the Australian Open, Serena Williams tries to win her fourth consecutive major -- the Serena Slam, if you will -- and America barely looks up from Joe Millionaire. Of course when Tiger Woods completed his Tiger Slam at the Masters in 2001, a national holiday was nearly declared.

You remember Tiger, right? Used to be Most Dominating Golfer in the World? Not anymore. That title belongs to Exhibit D: Annika Sorenstam, who is coming off one of the most brain-bending seasons since Byron Nelson in 1945. The Ice Queen of Sweden won more than half her starts last year, 13 victories in 25 tournaments around the world. Tiger in 2002? He won six of 22 starts.

You mean you didn't see her on the cover of TIME? Or this magazine? Or Golf Digest? Or Golf? Or on the Today show? Or Letterman or Leno? No? Maybe that's because it never happened. "If Tiger had a year like Annika," says LPGA player Jill McGill, "they'd reschedule sunsets for him."

Sorenstam's agent, Mark Steinberg, also happens to represent Tiger. "She and I talk about it all the time," Steinberg says. "She'd love to have more opportunities, but what can you do?" Last year Tiger did whip Sorenstam in one department. He earned more than $60 million in endorsements to her $2.5 million. Hey, Annika, ever tried a short tennis skirt?

And forget anybody having heard of Exhibit E: Paula Radcliffe. All she did in October was run a marathon in 2 hours, 17 minutes, not only shattering the women's world record but also narrowing to 12 minutes the gap between the men's and women's best times. That means, in the past 40 years, women have improved their record by more than an hour and men by nine minutes. (And to think they used to warn women not to run because their uteruses might fall out.)

All of this crinkles the nose of Exhibit F: Gail Goestenkors, coach of the No. 1 women's basketball team in the land, Duke, which also happened to have the No. 1-ranked men's team last week. The Duke men have sold out every home game since 1990. The Duke women have never sold out.

It doesn't bother the unsquashable Coach G. "We play for ourselves," she says, "for our own excellence." In fact the only opponent who really scares her is George W. Bush. "I'm afraid he's going to change Title IX," she says of the law that requires equal opportunity for men and women to participate in sports at schools that receive federal funding. "He's talking about making [compliance] voluntary. That would be a travesty."

She would know. In seventh grade her school did not have a girls' track team, so she had to run on the boys' squad. The guys hated her for it, and when she'd get into the starting blocks, they would comment on her butt. Or the way she looked in her shorts. "We can't lose Title IX," she says, "because I know what girls would have to go back to."

True, Title IX has caused brutal cuts in men's sports over the past 30 years. But women suffered for 100 years without it. As Wooden says, "The problem with Title IX is that it started way too late. I wouldn't want anything to happen to that program."

A piece of advice, Mr. President: Don't touch Title IX, because the only thing women resent more than being ignored is being denied.

Issue date: January 27, 2003

Sports Illustrated senior

*JR*
Jan 26th, 2003, 02:11 AM
Thanks for the post, Becca! This is the kind of stuff that too often gets swept under the rug. 2B fair, however, the LPGA has done only a small fraction of what it could have re. Augusta. A funny parody in ESPN mag a while back had them changing their leading player's name to "Annikournikova Sorenstam". :D

Brian Stewart
Jan 26th, 2003, 08:27 AM
This must be the piece Carillo referenced when mentioning that Rick Reilly had emailed her. He was asking why the "Serena Slam" wasn't getting hyped in tennis circles like the "Tiger Slam" did by golf. She gave the usual bs answers about tennis paying strict attention to their traditions, such as the emphasis on the calendar year as part of the slam. (One of those traditions is also treating women like second class citizens. And it would behoove these announcers to learn that a very early reference to a possible "Grand Slam" had no mention of winning them all in one calendar year, or even in succession.)

The irony of it is that this piece is from SI. No major publication has shortchanged women athletes more han SI.

*JR*
Jan 26th, 2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by Brian Stewart


The irony of it is that this piece is from SI. No major publication has shortchanged women athletes more han SI. However, Brian, SI's famous tennis writer Jon Wertheim DID write the book "Venus Envy", filled with interesting stuff gleaned by spending alot of time covering the WTA (both oncourt and off).

Experimentee
Jan 26th, 2003, 03:18 PM
Thanks for the article. The media attitude to womens sport is nothing short of appalling. Tennis is probably one of the most popular womens sport with the most attention but still Serena's career slam didnt even make the news in some areas. I can imagine what it must be like for other sports. Theres people writing articles and letters saying womens tennis is a joke and they are only out on court to look pretty and make fashion statements. Sexism is most definitely still alive in sport today and most people dont want to believe that.

tennischick
Jan 26th, 2003, 05:26 PM
fantastic article. thanks for posting it Becca. ;) ;)

the cat
Jan 26th, 2003, 08:31 PM
Brian Stewart is right. If a hypocrite like Rick Reilly really cared about women's sports, shouldn't he, the top writer at SI for many years, have written more articles on women's sports over the years, instead of chiming in with his 2 cents after the fact with this article? Of course he should have!

But since Rick Reilly SI's top most prominent journalist has taken all of the media including his own magazine to task for ignoring women's sports, let's see if SI covers more worthy women's sports stories in the future. I doubt it.

The Life of Reilly! By the way, the most coverage Rick Reilly has ever given women's sports was when he was a journalist covering the Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Issue a few years ago! LOL! :p

Crazy Canuck
Jan 27th, 2003, 09:32 AM
I'm glad that some of you took the time to read it :)

I thought that it would die, which I found surprising considering how concerned I thought that most people around here were regarding the state of womens sports.

Onward:

And it would behoove these announcers to learn that a very early reference to a possible "Grand Slam" had no mention of winning them all in one calendar year, or even in succession.)

Brian Stewart - thanks for the bit of trivia :) I didn't realize that originally their was no emphasis on the grand slam being completed in the Calender year. When did this begin to change?


The media attitude to womens sport is nothing short of appalling. Tennis is probably one of the most popular womens sport with the most attention but still Serena's career slam didnt even make the news in some areas.

Experimentee - Unfortunately this rings very true. I have friends who live with me, who walked by when i was watching part of the Venus-Serena final and just balked at it.

Mind you, these are the same people who have no problem giving Tiger Woods the respect he deserves.

I'm pretty sure that not only were these guys unaware of what Serena was about to accomplish, but they wouldn't have cared nor respected it even if they did know :(

But if say, Agassi won all 4 in a row - that would be a different story.


Theres people writing articles and letters saying womens tennis is a joke and they are only out on court to look pretty and make fashion statements.

I will never understand why it is that they let people who know nothing about tennis, go write an article about womens tennis. Especially if they are just there to bash the sport.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion - but how can a magazine that expects to taken serious publish sexist crap?

I guess that you summed up why that is with this:

Sexism is most definitely still alive in sport today and most people dont want to believe that.

Crazy Canuck
Jan 27th, 2003, 09:34 AM
the cat - it is ironic considering the source. But no matter the source, at least a highly regarded sports publication is willing to publish the article.

Hopefully this isn't their attempt at a "flavour of the week" type story, that they will go on to ignore in future issues.

I would hope that people write in to indicate that they would like to see more articles that call out like this :)

kes
Jan 27th, 2003, 09:53 AM
thanks for posting the article, Rebecca!!! :)

Its the same here in Australia. For example, our women's cricket team were beating the pants off everyone in the world, when the men were not doing so well - but there was NEVER any media coverage. The same with Carrie Webb - our top golfer - who was kicking butt all over the world - not a mention!!!!!!!!

At the tennis coverage - the default is always the men's game - of course. If you are talking about tennis -
for example - they were saying that Agassi is the oldest and most successful player on tour - HELLO!!!!!! What about Martina???
But of course - when you talk about 'tennis' - you are talking about the men's game!!!!

Many many more examples........
It really sucks!!!!!!!!!!

Women's sport seems to be the final arena in which women can succeed without having to all look like the stereo-typical barbie doll type - in other areas of life, acting, singing etc, nowadays, this is sadly not the case!!!!!!
Even Kylie has to show her ass to earn respect!!!!
Its very sad indeed!!!!!!!

2284
Jan 27th, 2003, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Experimentee
Thanks for the article. The media attitude to womens sport is nothing short of appalling. Tennis is probably one of the most popular womens sport with the most attention but still Serena's career slam didnt even make the news in some areas. I can imagine what it must be like for other sports. Theres people writing articles and letters saying womens tennis is a joke and they are only out on court to look pretty and make fashion statements. Sexism is most definitely still alive in sport today and most people dont want to believe that.

I totally agree. As an indication of the level of sexism in sport, Davis Cup means everything in this country, but Australia's Fed. Cup matches are often not even shown on TV

Experimentee
Jan 27th, 2003, 12:11 PM
Oh yeah the Davis Cup thing really shits me! They act like its so important, and its the be all and end all of tennis, but Fed Cup is the same thing and they hardly ever talk about it in the news! When Australia beat the Netherlands it hardly got any media coverage at all, and all they do is make jokes about how bad Aussie womens tennis players are. Maybe they dont show Fed Cup on tv because they know Australia will probably lose, but they still show Davis Cup when we're the underdogs and the team consists of Ilie and Draper, who are lower ranked than the members of the Aussie Fed Cup team.

Weevee
Jan 27th, 2003, 01:00 PM
Is there any place in the world that women are not regarded as second class? I don't think so!

2284
Jan 27th, 2003, 01:35 PM
Originally posted by Weevee
Is there any place in the world that women are not regarded as second class? I don't think so!

Don't think so...all I can say is that I'm looking forward to the Fed. CUp tie against Spain in April...and hopefully Alicia will have recovered in time for it...and even if she hasn't, Evie and Sam have been playing so well that it probably wouldn't make a difference to the score :)....but once again, I probably won't get to see my own country play Fed. Cup:mad: :fiery:

Crazy Canuck
Jan 27th, 2003, 05:54 PM
252 views, and only 13 posts from people willing to dicuss the state of womens sports?

hmmmmm

I guess threads about "who is fat" are far more interesting and important.

Volcana
Jan 27th, 2003, 06:27 PM
Rebecca - Unless youthink women's sports already get too much coverage, what's to discuss. Reilly makes many nice points (I read this on the SI website), but I've run into this phenomena a lot. You post what seems to be an intelligent, reasoned take on a subject, and there's a lot of traffic, but little response.

But how much is 'yeah I agree', worth?

Post an article that favors the Bush administration's gutting Title IX and you'll get more response, even though it's basically the same topic.

Tennisfan888
Jan 27th, 2003, 06:58 PM
252 views, and only 13 posts from people willing to dicuss the state of womens sports?

Poor Rebecca,

You posted a topic and not enough people are responding. What, are you crushed by this?

Regarding the issue of Women is sports, I think what we have is a chicken-and-egg issue. On one hand, the media generally treat women's sport like a second class citizen because there is little demand, and on the other, the viewing public seems indefferent to women's sport because they see so little of it in the media. The one glaring exception is women's figure skating. Put on the men's competition alongside the women's and the ladies will out draw the guy in a landslide. I'm gonna go out on a limb and cite prurience as THE basis for this....but I could be wrong. In the last few years, not coincidentally, with the rise of the Williams duo, women's tennis is starting to challenge the guys in this arena.

Outside of those two sports, the media and the general public will always gravitate towards the testosterone-driven jocks. Perhaps with more coverage, the WNBA will achieve parity with the NBA. Perhaps Anna Sorensen (SP) will provide the same intrigue as Tiger....an so on...and so on. I hope that day comes soon, but I wont hold my breath.

Crazy Canuck
Jan 27th, 2003, 10:52 PM
Poor Rebecca,

You posted a topic and not enough people are responding. What, are you crushed by this?

This was highly idiotic and not needed. If you left this off, you made a very fine post.

I was somewhat surprised, because people on this site bitch and bitch about the state of womens sports, yet apparently don't want to talk about it.

I find people who *claim* to care about something, yet really only use it as an excuse to bitch sometimes, to be very frusterating to those of us who actually *do* care.

Crazy Canuck
Jan 27th, 2003, 10:53 PM
Volcana - You adressed my confusion, and while it makes sense, I don't totally buy it.

Frankly I don't think that lot of people care as much as they let on, but oh well ;)