Female sports journalists need to stop replying to trolls

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Beadle (via ESPN.com)

If you follow ESPN, you know Michelle Beadle. She’s the cohost of SportsNation on ESPN2. She is also well known for being harassed on Twitter. Daily. She’s a great journalist, and she has a lot of followers, but sometimes her extreme bias gets her in some trouble with Twitter trolls.

Beadle is a huge San Antonio Spurs fan, and thebiglead recently ran an article on Beadle standing in front of other fans during the NBA Playoffs. What was apparently supposed to be a tongue-and-cheek, playful Monday filler, turned into more when Beadle reacted.

First- worst thing you can do is react. Usually, her reactions are funnyScreen Shot 2015-04-27 at 3.25.22 PM

… case in point.

However, she even had her boyfriend tweeting the columnist, which ended up leading to another article about how she’s vengeful as well. Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 3.43.56 PM

My perspective: we (female sports journalists) should stop helping our trolls. Britt McHenry learned her lesson when she reacted to a tow company worker, as I wrote about in my last blog.

The Trendy Trainer recently posted about ignoring trolls and gave some good advice:

“Nobody interesting is truly liked.”

We as females need to stop replying to trolls and focus on our careers, on our interests and not try to defend ourselves when someone attacks us. You don’t often see male journalists engaging in that on Twitter (although they don’t have near as many trolls). Athletes tend to ignore it altogether. Beadle is lucky-she’s known for this. But when we get out of hand and take it too far, whether in person or online, it gives us all a bad reputation. And seriously- do we need to make it harder on ourselves?

Britt McHenry shouldn’t be suspended- yet!

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Britt McHenry (via Twitter)

Recently, ESPN’s Britt McHenry was suspended from all ESPN entities because of a viral video of McHenry completely disrespecting and attacking a tow-truck company worker.

Phrases said to the worker (via the Huffington Post):

– “I’m in the news, sweetheart.”
– “I will fucking sue this place.”
– “That’s why I have a degree and you don’t.”
– “I wouldn’t work in a scumbag place like this.”
– “Makes my skin crawl even being here.”
– “Yep, that’s all you care about is just taking people’s money. With no education, no skill set, just wanted to clarify that.”
– “Do you feel good about your job?
– “So I can be a college dropout and do the same thing?”
– “Why? Because I have a brain? And you don’t?”
– “Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?”
– “‘Cause they [the employee’s teeth] look so stunning … ‘Cause I’m on television and you’re in a fucking trailer, honey.”
– “Lose some weight, baby girl.”

Now, we’ve all had bad days, and getting your car towed sucks. However, her character is shining right through this one. After reading through most of the news about McHenry, I agreed with ESPN’s one-week suspension…

ONE BIG PROBLEM: The video was edited. There is no record of what the tow worker said to McHenry, and according to the New York Post, that record might have been pretty handy.

Advanced Towing, a company out of Arlington, Virginia, doesn’t have a good rap sheet. They tow legally parked cars, don’t answer to complaints and are rude to their customers. So, who’s to say what the worker was saying to McHenry wasn’t just as bad as what she was saying?

My problem with her suspension? No investigation. She’s an employee, and yes, it looks bad. However, shouldn’t there have been some sort of look into how she was treated, too? It’s as if ESPN reacted to the media mob and took immediate action without research (unless suspension is for investigation- pending a termination?).

It will be an interesting topic to follow, but McHenry isn’t helping the fact that she’s a minority- a woman who is successful in sports journalism.

NFL Female Referee Media Storm- Good or Bad?

Sarah Thomas. You don’t know that name yet, but if you’re an NFL fan, you’re bound to. The NFL just hired her as the first female referee in their 95-year history of the male-exclusive sport.

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Sarah Thomas has been hired as the NFL’s first female referee.

Thomas told The Guardian that she wants to be invisible, but my guess is she’ll be about as invisible as the replacement referees were. AKA- She’ll be scrutinized for her every move.

Obviously, this is a huge move for Thomas, and females in sport everywhere. The preseason game official now gets a chance with the big leagues- that is the regular season of the NFL, one of the most regularly watched sports events each year.

People are thinking about what a female referee could think for the NFL. SB nation pretty much sums up (in a very satirical way) what people may bring up– which are really, really dumb things. However, they do make the point that the NFL is kind of shooting itself in the foot by writing a press release for a female referee and not doing so when they hire new males.

However, if you saw a female on the sidelines and the NFL had never noted it, what would you do? Twitter would break in less than ten minutes.

Here’s what we have to look forward to in the upcoming season:

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Ah, this will be interesting. So, should the NFL have covered this as heavily as they did, and would they have been scrutinized if they didn’t? I think there’s no easy way around announcing/not announcing this.

Ronda Rousey Revisited

I recently posted about Ronda Rousey and whether or not men respected her for being a female athlete or if they just based their opinion on her looks. What I found? Rousey is kick-ass. She’s dominant in MMA, and men realize it. In fact, all the feedback I received was from males. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 4.01.57 PM I love the claim Asti makes about Rousey being the ‘face’ of MMA and UFC right now and comparing her to the Williams sisters, who no doubt are the face of tennis for some people, especially female sports fans. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 4.03.48 PM Anthony incorporates a different aspect into his argument about how Rousey’s looks get fans to watch her fight, but her skill keeps people coming back for more. I agree with Anthony. People are intrigued by the fact that an attractive woman is undefeated, so they watch. That’s what I do, even though I don’t follow the UFC. Seeing a woman succeed at sport is compelling for me. So the question begs, do female athletes get more respect than female sports journalists? The journalists seem to be more well-known and followed while receiving some negative or unwanted attention. However, female athletes lack the attention altogether. When female journalists are good at their job, but may not be the best looking, do they receive the attention they deserve? Fans don’t think so.

(For someone who has years of experience in the field, Oliver, replaced by Erin Andrews last season, is most remembered last season for being hit in the face with a football during pregame.) Pam Oliver recently received her sideline reporter position, again, with Fox Sports, due to outside pressure. Although she’s not ‘young, blonde and hot’, she got her spot back because of fan demand. Maybe we ARE going in the right direction!

A female sports broadcaster was criticized by WHO?!

So, we all know that female sports journalists are criticized on Twitter often, mostly by men. However, it’s not often that men in the sports journalism world attack th

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eir female counterparts. Most understand the criticism that the women face while trying to accomplish the same goal that they are.

However, Dan Bernstein doesn’t seem to understand that. The same week that he criticized the Bears for signing a player in the middle of a domestic violence issue (advocating for women’s rights), he attacked Comcast Sports Net’s Aiyana Cristal via 140 characters or less.

Why? Her “ability”, inevitably followed by tweets about her looks, which he exchanged opinions about in a dialogue with a coworker. You can follow that mess on Bernstein’s Twitter by yourself- and look at his apologies, which are plentiful and seem pretty sincere.

Bernstein called it a ‘bad career move’. Well, duh? What would the media do if a female sports journalist critiqued a man’s ability to do their job, followed by an irrelevant comment about his less-than-perfect looks. They’d be fired in a heartbeat and would lose all respect earned, if they had earned any.

Why do we tolerate this from men? Why does Bernstein still have a job? This culture has got to change- everyone, especially men dealing with a sports profession, MUST stop acting like 140 characters is nothing. One hundred and forty characters can do more to a female’s reputation than others realize, and for the sake of all human rights, men need to back them up.

‘Go put on an apron’ – Twitter is mean

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via The Guardian

Twitter. We all love it, right? It’s the fastest and easiest way to get up-to-date info. It doesn’t take long to read- 140 characters or less helps us out with that.

Most of us don’t have huge Twitter followings, so we don’f often see the negative sides of replies. However, people who are watched in the public eye, especially on Twitter, are criticized daily. Women have it worse- especially if they’re tweeting about sports. I do it all the time, but my 800+ followers don’t seem to care or rather, value my opinions. It’s probably that first idea.

A recent article from The Guardian is an example of that. Actress and activist Ashley Judd tweeted about Arkansas playing dirty, and wow, she got some dirty stuff back. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 5.44.23 PM

The tweets were endless- yet she only retweeted one. That’s what Melissa Jacobs, NFL reporter and author of the article on The Guardian, wants us to do. Minimize the attention. Sure, calling out Twitter trolls can make them look stupid- but they’re also getting traffic.

You may want to show people what you go through every day on Twitter, but why not just rise above? So, according to Jacobs, we should ignore threats and someone calling us a cunt? No, I think I’ll go with Judd’s way of doing things- REPORTING IT. Women in sports media don’t have it easy, as if I haven’t said that before.

It’s never going to change if you don’t do something about it. What do you guys think? Should she report it, or do you think it’s better to not pay attention to these trolls?

A woman sued the Mets – and she won

CNN’s OpEds are wonderful. A news outlet that allows non-journalists to tell their story and voice their concerns about society today is a great one in my book, especially when it’s about women in sports. Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 5.29.06 PM

A recent opinion article from Leigh Castergine, the former Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales for the New York Mets, highlighted that while there are women in sport, they’re not in the right places. Discrimination still happens at every level of sport, and women are “looked over” in boardrooms, according to Castergine.

She recently settled a lawsuit with the Mets, where she claimed that she was discriminated against and fired for being pregnant without being married. (Because that never happens today.)

“And even though we’ve made progress as a society in preventing the very worst and most obvious cases of discrimination, that does not mean every workplace has become a perfect meritocracy.” – Leigh Castergine

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 5.30.12 PMWhat do we need? MORE WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT AND HIGHER POSITIONS! What a shocker! Just like we need more women in the booth instead of on the sidelines. But what can women in sports do to make sure that this happens? For Castergine, it’s simple.

  • speak up for women
  • hire more women at every level
  • have women’s backs – INTEGRITY

Castergine, good for you. This is awesome. More pushes like this will be sure to help women in sports and media in the future.