Two weeks ago, I was watching the NFL Playoff games at a sports bar and a 30 something guy asked me, “Do you even know who is playing in the game?” His question reminded of one of the reasons I decided to start the Sporting Pink. If you are a female sports fan, you’ve probably heard “you know a lot about sports for a girl”. This is after you’ve been given a pop quiz to see if you can answer basic questions like ” who is playing the game” “what’s the mascot” or “name one player on the opposing team”.
My normal response would have been something sarcastic, but instead I flipped the script and asked him why he thought I was there. He said, oh feminine girls don’t really know much about sports. Talk about a loaded comment!
I know I am not the only girl who has been asked these questions. It’s silly. If you’re going to test me, ask me something real like: what does cover 2 mean or what is Spider 2 Y Banana? (anyone else love Jon Gruden’s QB camp?)
At the heart of these exchanges comes the real question – Why can’t I just like football? There are plenty of male armchair quarterbacks who have never played a down of football in their lives and are instantly given more credibility, but why?
Sheryl Sandberg got people talking about how difficult it is for women to be taken seriously in the corporate world without being called bossy or bitchy. (Thank you, Sheryl!) While I also witness this behavior in the board room I actually think it is even more blatant in the sports reporting arena.
Erin Andrews, Alex Flanagan and Rachel Nichols are masters of their craft and know a lot about sports. Why don’t we see them at the table? Why are they mainly relegated to the sidelines? Wouldn’t it be great to see one of them call a game or provide pre or post game analysis? It doesn’t happen but it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t. Can a male audience handle a female calling a football game? After all, there are plenty of male broadcasters calling games who haven’t played football. (Joe Buck, Chris Fowler, Brent Musberger sound familiar?) Joe Buck is calling the Super Bowl, by the way. What is the difference? It can’t really be the make-up and long hair, right? As the lean in phenomenan continues, maybe one day we can close the gap, watch the game without being asked why or being told “you know a lot about sports for a girl”