By: Joe Cardoso
I’m sitting in a bar with the crew and of course, the topic is sports. More specifically, the subject at hand was who was the best of their era or talking stats.
You get stumped by a baseball question and no way you can look bad in front of the squad, right?
And out of nowhere, a young lady sitting beside you not only has the answer to the question but even adds some background to it.
Oh, no! How could this be? You got rocked in sports trivia by a chick?!
I am always on social media, and I constantly find myself in shock with the amount of hate, and just straight disrespectful comments female sports fans/journalists endure online.
I cannot stress it enough: it is insane!!
I am an only son, meaning I have all sisters, and I wish someone would say half this crap in my presence. Trust me, I would be writing this article from a prison cell.
Recently, the team at Just Not Sports did an outstanding video #MoreThanMean, where guys read mean tweets about women to the faces of two of my favorites: Sarah Spain of ESPN and Julie DiCaro, a radio host, writer, and all-around sports fan. It was hard to watch and beyond eye-opening for me, and I’m sure for so many men who “thought” we knew how bad it was.
The question is this: Why?
Why does it make so many dudes, bros, brothers, homies, or however you acknowledge one another, so upset? Is it that with the push for equality, we fear sports are the last frontier for us, and God forbid, “we” come up short to “them?”
I have heard it all. “Well, she never played the game, so how can she have an opinion on the game?”
ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcaster, Jessica Mendoza was an All-American at Stanford and Olympic Gold medal winner, so maybe put away that fantasy football trophy bud.
Dude, you are sitting at a bar stool, not an NFL or CFB sideline, so who are you?
Try this: is it possible this young lady grew up watching and… wait for it… playing sports? Perhaps because of her upbringing, she grew to understand, love and… uh-oh, a bomb in your lap… knows the game?
I have a friend Brianne who has watched and studied so much football, that she can tell me or anyone what makes a cornerback good or why a guard keeps getting beat on third down. Now, I love football, but I couldn’t tell you what makes the Giants’ Sterling Shepherd an up and coming wideout, or why Diana Taurasi is so deadly with her mid-range game.
But the fact that a female knowing these things is madness.
So, us men need to stop her at all cost, right?
There are certainly some female fans who like players for their looks and have no clue about what position a guy plays or the league, etc. That said, there are plenty of guys that fall into this category as well.
Trust me, Skylar Diggins-Smith (@skydigg4) doesn’t have over half a million followers solely because of how well she runs the point.
Something I have learned is that because so many fellas act like jerks, and since women want to be respected for their craft, they do even more homework. I’m talking stats on lockdown; interesting stories on players and teams that fly under the average fan’s radar.
This is code for attention to detail, and a ton of women have this skill.
Yet in a world of hot-takes, a lot of us dudes rush in skip the facts, and background be damned.
How dare Joy Taylor know more about Kobe than me? She must be stopped, so let’s put her down and hope she shuts up!
I can rattle off at least 20 female writers and TV hosts whose opinion and breakdowns I look for, and oftentimes, I agree with their positions.
I also think a small part of the hate is jealously. For an armchair quarterback at the bar or in the man cave, how does she get to be on the sidelines or in the booth? It must be her looks! I can do her job!
No, my brother. Just no.
Did you go to school for this? Did you take some crap internship and possibly have to push through some unspeakable #MeToo incidents? You could always be inspired by a woman, and… just a thought here, I don’t know… perhaps chase your dream? Just an observation or two from a guy who works 50 hours a week, runs two websites and cranks out two podcasts a week, so don’t expect any sympathy from me, because I am that guy who supports equality and diversity in journalism.
So how do we stop this?
Unfortunately, we can’t stop it, but we can continue to educate one another and make it not okay by calling people out when we see it and read it.
Katie Nolan, Michelle Beadle, Rachel Nichols, Cassidy Hubbarth, Jemele Hill, and a slew of other top-notch women in the business don’t need Joe Cardoso to defend their honor.
But what we do need is to call people out, right then and there. Women in sports journalism won’t be going anywhere, just like people of color in the industry aren’t leaving the table any time soon.
My advice to you fellas: get over it, and fast. Instead of hating, allow these talented women to share their opinions and do something crazy their jobs in peace.
I dare say that not one single person who tweets out hateful garbage has the balls to say it to their own sister or mother, let alone the person to whom they tweeted.
It’s all fun and games being a keyboard warrior, a two-thumbed gangster from your smartphone. Wishing that a woman gets sexually assaulted, beaten, or killed over sports is beyond vile to the point that it makes me cringe to even put it into words.
My brothers, I’m asking you, here and now, man to man: next time, please think about the impact your words have on a person who, just like you, wants nothing more than to enjoy, talk and debate sports. The pool is big enough for all of us to get in.
Gentlemen, if this editorial in any way, shape or form has gotten under your skin, that’s exactly why it has to be said.
I want to help change how we view this topic, and my goal is to bring about fearless discourse. If you feel I have disgraced the brotherhood, I’ll grab my beer and move on.
I’m pretty sure that Kristen Ledlow will have a barstool available for me.
Edited By Senior Editor Larry Bisagni