The good folks at Just Not Sports recently put together a video to support their #MoreThanMean campaign. Regular guys, not actors, were brought in to read unfiltered tweets that were directed at female sports reporters CBS’ Julie DiCaro and ESPN’s Sarah Spain. The campaign is to highlight the way people, almost exclusively men, treat female sports figures on social media. Social media has done a great job of bringing people from all over the world together, but it’s also given the trolls of society the cover of anonymity to spew their vile hate.
The video is hard to watch and the language is NSFW. It’s raw because it shows just what these women go through simply for doing their jobs and for simply being female. Sports is the last area of society where being openly sexist and misogynistic is still, somehow, acceptable. And if not wholly acceptable, those that express those beliefs aren’t completely shunned as they would be in polite society. “Throwing like a girl” is still an acceptable putdown and anything not masculine is still considered less than.
I used to think that we shouldn’t mistreat women and girls because they were our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. But that’s not right. Women shouldn’t be mistreated because they are people, independent of their relationships with any male. Treat others how you want to be treated, no matter if they’re male or female. That shouldn’t be so hard. Yet, for those women that dare to entreat on the male dominated sports world, all sense of decorum goes out the window. No one deserves to feel unsafe simply because they cover your local sports team or find themselves on the sideline of a sporting event or even host a national sports show. No one.
I refuse to believe that the majority of men engage in such ridiculous behavior. What I do believe is a lot of men see and say nothing. We listen to jokes about Erin Andrews’ hotel video and while we don’t laugh, we say nothing. We see the tweets to female sports reporters and we don’t respond, if only to voice our displeasure at how some anonymous troll is harassing her. We let it go because on the internet, is anything real? Yes it is. It’s harassment. It’s vulgar. And it’s wrong. As sports fans, we have to do better.