Sports and sexism

Drama within the UK Premier League…

Good news! Woman official (lineswoman) at recent (January 2011) Premier League football game.

Bad news! Male commentators caught on tape making chauvinistic, patronising comments.

News! The TV network suspended the commentators from their next assignment and a number of UK leaders, in politics, media and sports, have spoken out in support of the woman and denouncing the views the men expressed. Following their suspension, the commentators have now been fired or resigned.

I have a few questions about this situation. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the views caught on tape are that uncommon, so I’m wondering who leaked the taped remarks and why?

Was it a cheap way of getting rid of expensive staff? Was it a personal grudge being played out in public?

And what happened to privacy? Experienced commentators know when they are on and off air, which to me, raises the issue of the right to privacy, as in private views expressed in private.

Whatever the answer to those questions, the story has, unfortunately, focused far too much on the men making the sexist remarks and far too little on the accomplishments of a young woman’s rapid rise to the top of a male-dominated area of work – from the governing body, to club owners and managers and match officials, women are conspicuous through their absence.

That should be the focus of the story.

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