For as long as the news media has existed, there has been pervasive sexism and casual misogyny. Nevermore is that more evident than in sports media, where women have to endure not only the boys club of print and on-air colleagues, but dismissiveness and sideways glances from coaches and players.
Julie DiCaro is an award-winning sports journalist, radio host and author. She’s written “Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being A Woman in America.” She says things have gotten marginally better for women in sports media since Washington Post reporter Christine Brennan was finally allowed into a locker room to cover Washington’s NFL team.
“Believe it or not, I think it was in 2015, that we had another woman barred from a locker room — an NFL beat writer — because the usher didn’t think she looked like she belonged there,” she says. “The fight today for women in sports media is on a different front. It’s an incredibly male-dominated industry. And you maybe don’t see that turning on ESPN. But if you take ESPN out of the mix, the numbers, the diversity numbers across sports media go way down. Just because you see people on TV, it doesn’t necessarily mean things are better all around.”
On the harassment women face on social media
Yeah, it’s almost constant. And it’s funny, because I know so many women who have said, “You know, I don’t talk about hot-button issues, I just talk X’s and O’s, I tried to keep my head down and do my job. And I still have to deal with it.” If you’re talking about violence against women, if you’re talking about racism, or equal pay, or women’s right to control their own bodies, or whether or not trans girls should be allowed to play sports, issues that really get people fired up, then it’s even worse.
On the ‘bro’ culture around websites like Barstool Sports still thriving despite driving much of the toxic culture toward women
(I’m bothered by the) the lack of consequences. I mean, it’s tough when you know a dozen women who have all been through the same thing — the storm of people attacking you, and not just calling you names, but, trying to find out where your kids go to school and — just all these horrible things. And then, to see them get a deal with NASCAR to see Bauer hockey partner with them. I’m like “am I the only one that sees what is happening here?”
Listen: Julie DiCaro talks about the challenges women face in sports media.
On the inequality between women’s and men’s sports — especially perpetuated by the NCAA during the latest basketball tournaments
The difference between the women’s and the men’s workout rooms — I don’t know if people saw that the guys had an entire workout area, full of every kind of weight machine you could want and bikes and everything. And the women got like six barbells, six dumbbells and a stack of yoga mats. And it wasn’t until the NCAA was shamed on social media that they actually did something about it. Public pressure is great, but at some point, we need to get people in charge of these organizations that are fully committed to equity and inclusion. And unfortunately, we just haven’t seen that yet.