• Peter Burtnett

We must be allies with women in sports


Elena Delle Donne, 2-time WNBA MVP, 6-time All-Star, WNBA champion and Gold medalist, is just one example of how women in sports are often scoffed at and overlooked. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Peter Burtnett

Co-founder, Impact Sports Media

For far too long in sports, women have been looked down upon and mocked, athletes often subject to comments like, "Get back to the kitchen," or "Make me a sandwich," while trainers, journalists, and women with other professions in sports are subjected to similar remarks or forced to perform unspeakable acts to gain a promotion in the "boys' club."

The latest example of this is what came to light from the Washington Redskins, hereafter referred to as the Washington football franchise. When 15 women previously employed by the organization came forward with accusations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, a dark side of sports that often remains ignored was brought to light.

Another example is WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne, who has been fighting for her pay, as she wrestles with whether she will be able to play the WNBA season because of her battle with Lyme's disease, because of which she shared that she takes 64 pills per day in a vulnerable but powerful open letter in the Player's Tribune.

Delle Donne said she was forced to decide to risk her life as an immunocomprimised person, or forfeit her paycheck. Like often is the initial reaction when women come into the bigger sports picture, keyboard "warriors" immediately started the kitchen or sandwich comments. However, things seemed slightly different this time as many people realized that Delle Donne not being paid was wrong.

Finally, the latest example of the rejection of women in sports were the comments on Twitter when a video showing San Francisco Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken as first base coach was tweeted by Kenny Crowley with the caption, "This is really cool. The #SFGiants have Alyssa Nakken coaching first base right now." Many comments discredited her capacity to be the first base coach or questioned whether she had the qualification to perform the job. The trolling comments were the latest example of the sorry attempts to keep women out of the "boys' club" of sports.

In his latest The Impact with Ian Evans podcast, Ian discussed the disgust that he feels from the Washington situation. For me, hearing actual examples of what I knew already existed made me realize it is more important than ever to make sure that we, as men, are allies with women in sports, whether in media or the athletes who play them.

Like being an ally for people of color as a white man, being an ally for women is just as important. As co-founder of Impact Sports Media, I firmly state that any person who wants to write articles to be featured on this blog are more than welcome. However, any attitudes of misogyny, racism, or bigotry will not be tolerated.

Impact Sports Media is certainly a start-up, but as a co-founder of the blog and friend of podcast host Ian Evans, ISM wants to start on the right foot and not be left on the wrong side of history.

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