Young Women in Sports Media are Badass

I don’t know how you could have missed it, because everyone has been linking to it.

But if you haven’t seen Katie Nolan’s takedown of the NFL and its broadcast networks, watch it. And if you have already watched it, you know it’s worth the three-and-a-half minutes to watch again.

I can’t add too much to that, because Katie knocked it out of the damn park. But here goes:

If my experience is indicative, our journalism schools are churning out female sportscasters that are just as smart and knowledgeable about the sports they cover as the boys are, often more so.

Once you understand that’s the truth, it becomes inconceivable that our channels and networks continue to employ more men for on-air roles than women. Taken as a whole, from play-by-play to color commentator to sideline reporting to anchoring to studio analysis, I would guess that our national and regional sports networks are still at least three guys for every woman.

And don’t get me started on sports radio. Nolan nails it when she says:

“A lot of people like to justify women’s supporting role in sports media by saying, well, they’ve never played the game so they just aren’t qualified to speak about it. Because, God forbid, someone misspeak about the game. But topics like domestic violence and racism and corruption? Let’s let Boomer handle those between downs.”

Every day, we tune our radios and flip our TV channels and hear hundreds of men and make bold proclamations about games they never played professionally and topics like domestic violence that they have never experienced.

But when you put a woman in the same role? The complaints pour in. She doesn’t belong there. What would she know about football? I didn’t tune in to hear a woman. It just doesn’t sound right having a female play-by-play announcer.

On and on ad infinitum.

Please stop. Sure, male writers and broadcasters hear, “what do you know, you never played the game!” as well, but never as much as females do. And if a male makes a mistake on a name or stat, as humans tend to do, he gets far more benefit of the doubt than a woman who just doesn’t know the game dammit.

For everyone who thinks like this, slowly remove your fat foot from your Bud-Light-guzzling mouth, crawl back into your man-cave and lock yourself in it. We don’t need you.

This is no exaggeration: my graduating class in the Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at USC had six girls for every guy. The girl/guy ratio for those looking to enter sportscasting was 2-to-1, maybe 3-to-1. Every one of those ladies knows more about football than I do, is harder-working and (let’s remember that being watchable is a part of television) is better looking than I am.

If somehow, in 25 years, the number of females in on-air sportscasting jobs has not equaled or surpassed the number of males, it will be because biased network executives and misogynist fans won. It won’t be for lack of available talent.

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