#FBF: If She Was A Boy (Part V) . . . .

On a team building exercise for the Legal Split, outside the doors of the restaurant chain, Bravo, two coworkers are discussing the fact she is playing on the new local women’s pro football team, Dayton Rebellion. The male coworker, a retired Marine, asks his female coworker, “What is your favorite position?” She replies, “Quarterback.” His response to that is, “So, you’d be a quarterback groupie?” As she turns to walk away, she replies with an attitude, “No.”

A female athlete, reporter or fan, would not endure sexist insults about her sports aptitude if she was a boy. Quite the contrary, she would be celebrated for her knowledge, her aptitude, her delivery. She wouldn’t have to worry about her appearance because she would be appreciated for the same attributes her fellow, male counterparts show.

Females who actively participate in the sports industry are often at the receiving end of harassment. Harassment is discrimination. It is the unwelcome conduct that is based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, pregnancy, disability or genetic information. It becomes unlawful when a reasonable person finds the environment as abusive, hostile, or intimidating. It is normally considered a civil issue but can quickly become a criminal situation if that behavior happens outside of the workplace (e.g., stalking, menacing, criminal harassment). Think Erin Andrews.

That normal trash talk fans share among themselves can cross the lines. Offensive jokes, slurs, name calling, offensive depictions about physical or mental attributes a female reporter may have been called by a fan can all be a form of harassment. If you heard the gentlemen above read the mean tweets Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro receive on a regular basis, you get the idea. Or, think of the comments directed at Serena Williams receives about her the size of her body. Or, remember how hot almost everyone thought Anna Kourkinova was and made vulgar comments denoting so.

Those comments have nothing to do with any of these women’s ability to deliver their respective sports product. Neither does the sexual orientation of a female within the sports industry. Coworkers of a minor league athlete should not go online to find a male date to try to “out” the female, because she doesn’t share the intimate details of her personal life with them. Ignorance labels female athletes as being homosexual or bisexual or transgender. Yes, there are females that do fall in those categories. However, there are many female athletes, or reporters, who enjoy the company of men on an intimate level (e.g., Mia Hamm, Chrissy Everett, Pam Oliver).

And enjoying male company doesn’t mean that a female in the sports industry is a groupie or a jump off. Nor does it mean she wants to be groped or rudely approached or receive cat calls. In 20xx, four female athletes attempted suicide with one of them actually dying because they felt overwhelmed by harassment. Thirty-seven percent of women experience harassment whereas one in every x of female athletes and reporters experience harassment. Coaches, fans, administrators, even fellow athletes can–and have been known to–harass female athletes and reporters.

An unmarried woman seeking to work in sports is not a stalker, groupie, jump off or seeking to further her career by being with an athlete. Neither is a married woman working in sports, or seeking to work in the sports industry, a nag because she criticizes the actions of men in the industry. A male reporter or athlete doesn’t lose his credibility for being single. Credibility lies within the understanding and pursuit of one’s craft.

Compliments about a female athlete’s beauty is okay. But there is a difference between compliments and straight out harassment. Harassment is not acceptable. She doesn’t need to be married to have credibility. Ignorance is not bliss nor is acceptable to the women who have studied and developed their skill to be the best in their field–whether that field is a court, field, track, broadcast or newspaper.
If the female reporter or athlete was a guy, he wouldn’t put up with it. And she shouldn’t. Because if she was a boy, she would keep doing her job and take whatever necessary steps to eliminate the harassment.


Source: Just Not Sports

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