Why Female Sports Journalists Are Few & Far Between

Professional sports require a certain set of balls, but not the type many would have you think. Depending on the code, the ball may be differently shaped or marked, but the sexism remains.

Women who enter the arena as players, cloaked in the same green and gold as their manlier counterparts, are met with less pay and constant disappointment. Unable to ever live up to the pedestal of our male sporting heroes. In similar stead female journalists commentating on the game, simply doing their jobs, are chastised.

Eddie McGuire’s comments made in jest about football journalist Caroline Wilson have been recognised for the gross mistake they are. Eddie, the man we know for handing out large sums of money on evening television, essentially joked that he would pay money to see Caroline Wilson slip into an ice bath, and up the fee if she stayed under.

For a man occasioned to throwing cash around, the dark banter had a realistic tone.

Met with raucous laughter from his radio chums, Eddie was patted on the back and left to shout into the radios of eager listeners. It took a whole week for the media to pick up on the blatant abuse.

For a woman to sit as the lead AFL journalist for Australia’s second largest media company, surely she has at least a little talent.

Caroline Wilson has admitted her discomfort saying “It’s like casual racism, casual violent language might be meant as a joke, but I wonder how many times we have to draw this line in the sand between this sort of language and what is a joke and obviously what is completely unacceptable.” For Mr Millionaire Eddie this rings true, in 2013 he labelled Adam Goodes “King Kong” and was criticised for his oblivious racism.

The man complaint Eddie has with Caroline is her tenacity, her journalistic skill for getting a quote, uncovering a player’s injury or noting a club’s next big move. Eddie goes on in his tirade to label her as “The Black Widow”, lamenting her for weaving a web and reeling you in. Not a disdain for investigative ability, instead a dislike of female journalists and their manipulative ways. For a woman to sit as the lead AFL journalist for Australia’s second largest media company, surely she has at least a little talent.

Chris Gayle’s uncomfortable exchange in a post match interview with Mel McLaughlin ignited gender tensions further. His croon of “Baby Don’t Blush” is now in the Aussie vernacular, a term of goosebump-inducing endearment. Gayle wasn’t joking, he was playing what he thought would be a doe-eyed young reporter swept up by his sporting fame. Instead Mel remained unfettered and asserted her lack of blush, steering the interview back to real topic of interest, the sport.

Sports journalism although positioned on the sidelines behaves just like a locker room. Jeers and chants, chummy banter and an air of exclusion. Men rule the roost here, but women are breaking in. In recent years the likes of Tara Rushton for Fox Sports, Erin Molan for The Footy Show, Rebecca Maddern for The AFL Footy Show have taken a proud place amongst the boys club. Chosen on their passion for the game at hand, their journalistic expertise and not for the twinkle in their eye.

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