(This is a script from the end of 2010 and that didn't get published to the blog. Please excuse its tardiness)
My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the Movies and more. I love them and I hate them and I always have an opinion. Call this the View From the Phlipside.
Well just to wrap up the year in the proper fashion I have one last story about sports and the media. For a change it's the media behaving badly instead of the sporting types.
You may have heard last week that the University of Connecticut's womens basketball team set a record for most consecutive wins with 89. This eclipsed the previous all time win streak held by the great UCLA teams of the 1970's. And that is where the trouble starts. You see John Wooden, the head coach at UCLA during those glory years, is also one of the most revered names in the sport of basketball. And with good reason. Wooden was everything you want in the ideal coach, dedicated, concerned as much about the quality of the young men he produced as the quality of the basketball players. And of course he won. A lot.
When the Lady Huskies tied the record at 88 UConn head coach Geno Auriemma proceeded to blast the sports media in general for what he saw as disrespect for his teams achievement. The reason for the disrespect in his opinion? Easy. Gender. Because these were "girls" their record didn't really count. And the sports world went nuts.
They were quick to point out that they had given this team and its record LOTS of coverage, which was true. The sports media world remains male dominated and dominated by folks who really only care about football, baseball and basketball. NASCAR, hockey and the Olympics come in the second tier of their attention and women's sports somewhere below that. And whether they like it or not that bias shone through again.
Because they would praise the UConn women but immediately follow it up with phrases like "Of course it's not the same as the UCLA record". And my favorite "It's not the same game". What twaddle.
There are differences but we're not talking the difference between baseball and softball. It's a round (if slightly smaller) ball and a round hoop and you gotta dribble, pass and shoot. And 89 straight wins is an astounding feat. UConn is dominating women's basketball just the way Wooden's Bruins dominated men's. That should be all that needs to be said other than praising one of the great teams and coachs of our time. If you're of the "they're only girls" mind set then you should be even MORE impressed when the ladies match the standards set by the men.
Sadly sports writers still maintain a bias against women's sports just as they maintain a bias against sports they didn't play as children or understand. The sports world's treatment of women in general continues to be abysmal and they should be ashamed of it. We need more folks like Geno who are willing to look the old boys network in the eye and tell it like it is.
Call that the View From the Phlipside.
"The View From the Phlipside" airs on WRFA-LP Jamestown NY. You can listen to WRFA online HERE
Copyright - Jay Phillippi 2010