Posts Tagged ‘media coverage’

#MoreThanMean – Women in Sports ‘Face’ Harassment


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Diana Taurasi reflects on her road to London

Diana Taurasi knows it could have been all different.

Had her suspension for a banned substance in 2010 not been thrown out, odds are she would still be fighting it in court. Instead, she’s heading to London on Wednesday for her third Olympics with the U.S. women’s basketball team.

“That whole experience has helped me appreciate things more,” Taurasi said over breakfast Tuesday. “You wake up and whether it’s the Olympics, your parents, loved ones, friends or your family you learn how fragile everything is. We all kind of appreciate every little moment a little more. Sometimes it takes things like that to help you think that way.”

The Auriemma/Hardwick story isn’t over yet, so I’m not drawing any literal parallels, but you’ve got to wonder if Doug might be writing a similar story in six months or so.

A little somethin’ somethin’ on Diana’s friend and teammate, Sue: Bird simply loves playing in Seattle

 A long way from the Pacific Northwest, Sue Bird learned that one of the mainstays of Seattle sports was gone.

Ichiro Suzuki, who had been in Seattle since Bird arrived in 2002, was traded from the Mariners to the New York Yankees on Monday. That leaves Bird as the second-longest tenured athlete in the city behind Storm teammate Lauren Jackson.

“That’s pretty crazy, I never would have thought to check that out,” Bird said. “I actually really love that. I love that I’ve been in the same place, developed a relationship with the community and the fans and the ownership. It’s a place I want to be. I feel like they’re loyal to me and I’m loyal to them. It’s a very comfortable situation.”

Thank goodness Doug made the trip — ’cause, have you noticed? Mechelle seems to be missing.

Which made me want to take an unscientific look (serious study is THEIR job) at the coverage so far. Let’s take a look at the NYTimes Olympic/Basketball section: There are 15 links (two are basically repeats).

Three are devoted to the US women, all by the AP (don’t know if Doug did’em)

Complainant Headed to Games (87 words, by AP. Not about the team)

Atlanta Coach and Player Are Eager to Get to London (682 words by AP)

Americans Travel Great Distance for a Few Warm-Ups (615 words, by AP)

11 are devoted to men’s basketball, 10 the US men

U.S. Olympic Basketball Roster Is Versatile, but Not Tall (774 words, by NY Times employee Nate Taylor)

N.B.A. Title Adds to James’s Credibility as U.S. Team Leader (915 words by NY Times employee Nate Taylor)

Nigerian Men’s Basketball Team Makes Olympics (113 words, by AP)

Hanging Out With Olympians (part of NY Times’ Google+ hangout  –  with Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers)

Blake Griffin Off Olympic Team With Knee Injury (86 words, by AP)

U.S. Gets Past Brazil but Struggles Down Low ( 776 words, 40 devoted to the women’s game, by Adam Himmelsbach, NY Times employee)

U.S. Men’s Basketball Team Routs Britain in Exhibition (506 words, by Reuters)

An Eye-Opening International Education (1023 words, by Jake Appleman, NY Times employee)

Krzyzewski, at Scene of 1992 Victory, Harks Back More to 2008 (781 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

With One Tuneup Left, U.S. Has Biggest Test Yet (827 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

Only a Tuneup, but One the U.S. Takes Seriously (862 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

Wouldn’t it be cool if every single NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA Division I, II etc. coach dropped a “6623 words v 1424 words? It doesn’t add up!” email to the NY Times Sports department? Sports@NYTimes.com

And no, we don’t have Tom Jolly to kick around anymore. Instead it’s Joe Sexton, who admonished Karen Crouse publicly for voicing her opposition to the Augusta National’s gender discrimination policy. Hmmmm… Illuminating, no?

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more US women participating in the Olympics than the men (still waiting for the anti-Title IXers to start whining about that being unfair.) I liked Taurasi’s deadpan reaction to the information: “Shocked. Shocked. How’d they let that happen?”

Like many women (and male) Olympians, she is not immune to the sexism of the IOC and FIBA (I do not envy Val Ackerman’s gig, but I admire her for fighting, fighting, fighting.)

And, of course, we’ve been following the other news thread: Olympians complain of gender discrimination

The women’s team was assigned seats in premium economy for the 13-hour flight to Paris while the nation’s under-23 men’s team was up front on the same flight.

“It should have been the other way around,” 2011 FIFA women’s world player of the year Homare Sawa told Japanese media after arriving in the French capital. “Even just in terms of age we are senior.”

Basketball Australia says it will review its travel policy for national teams after complaints that the men flew business class to the Olympics while most of the women sat in premium economy. The women’s team is by far the most successful of the two, having won silver medals at the last three Olympics. The men, who will be led in London by San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills, have never won an Olympic medal.

Back to US athletes: for me, the big questions will center around coverage: how will the number of stories published on US women athletes compare to those published on US men athletes? If I were a betting woman, I’d guess there’ll a significant discrepancy, say 65% men to 35% women? What’s your guess?

Of course, no matter how many lines of text are used, it will be equally important to look at the language used. Consider this from Feministing.com: Olympic sexism study: Male athletes have skill and female athletes have luck

According to a new study on past television coverage of the Olympics, sports commentators talk about athletes in notably different ways depending on their gender. And by “notably different” I mean “pretty sexist.” The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Delaware, analyzed NBC’s primetime coverage of past games. The main findings:

  • When female athletes succeed, commentators tend to focus on luck and less on physical ability.
  • When female athletes fail, physical ability and commitment are noted.
  • When male athletes succeed, commentators applaud their skill and commitment to the sport.
  • When male athletes fail, it is not necessarily about their failure, but about how their competitors succeeded.

Adding more info to the overall conversation, and with a huge h/t to sue:

The Curley Center for Sports Journalism has published an interesting study on why more women don’t watch women’s sports. Key findings:

In drawing from the conversations, we suggest that fanship is something more than simply developing an affinity for a certain team, but rather a complex concept mediated by one’s gender roles. For example, most of the women expressed a preference for the Olympics (an especially timely finding and one that sparked the initial popular interest in the piece). Indeed, analysts are saying that the female audience watching the Olympics will be larger than ever. Our research helps explain why this is; we note that the way the Olympics are presented – in short, easy-to-digest packages – are especially easy to appreciate for individuals who do not have the luxury of sitting down in front of the television for three uninterrupted hours. Rather, for those who are responsible for childcare and other domestic labor duties (generally women, according to existing wide-scale sociological research), the routine of sitting down only to get back up quickly to tend to something in the house is all too familiar. Thus, the ability to turn on the TV for 15 minutes, see a nice, tidy package of, say, track and field, is especially conducive for people with a hectic and full schedule in the home…….

The challenge to building a women’s sports fan base is also mediated by the form of domestic life. As the women in this study showed, watching sports was not a leisure activity, but rather associated with emotion labor. On the latter part of this two-pronged challenge, media producers and women’s sports advocates interested in building audiences in the short-term need to acknowledge and address the structural impediments facing women with the potential for interest in watching women play. For instance, airing professional women’s sports on weekends is a barrier for many women who perform traditional gender roles associated with childcare.

You’ll remember the numbers on “traditional gender roles:”

The number of hours men and women commit to housework has remained roughly the same over the last several years, according to a new American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statics. This, even while women continue to take on a bigger role in the workforce. Let’s look at the numbers:

In 2011, 83% of women and 65% of men “spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care or financial and other household management,” according to the report (which you can find here). The year earlier, the spread was 84% to 67%, respectively. Flash back to 2003 and the numbers were at 84% and 63%. So, sure, we’re seeing some change but none that I’d classify as particularly profound — especially when you look at how the workforce is divided today.

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