Journalism’s Glass Ceiling: Commentary: Women can throw curve balls in sports journalism

Jolene Nacapuy, Sports Editor
Jolene Nacapuy, Sports Editor

Sports knowledge and its history are not learned in a day or in a week, or even a month for that matter. Fortunately for me, I grew up with sports and each day and I learned something new and as I am continuously learning as I write even more. Probably this baseball and softball season, after how many times I’ve written about it, I learned what the shift is, line drives and how to properly say the type of out ­– ground outs, pop ups and fly outs. I used to just call them outs.

The men who insulted me at the football game told me a woman did not belong in writing about sports because I know nothing in comparison to a man. They wanted to make sure the story was accurate and that I knew my sports terms because they were just looking out for me.

Social media manager Megan Brown, who works with professional athletes, stirred up Twitter timelines and sports stations with a tweet she posted in March that featured a screenshot of a text exchange with a man who challenged her sports knowledge.

In the text, the man says he has “never met a girl who likes sports” and Brown corrected him, saying “*love.” He then tells her to name the NL East teams of Major League Baseball in the next 10 seconds without Googling. She does just that with the team names in pun form. The tweet went viral.

“After 10 or so years of responding to condescending questions like that, I decided to have a little fun with it. Even if he wasn’t going to learn his lesson from it, at least it made me laugh,” Brown said.

She did not think it would blow up the way it did and thought that it was great to get more attention to the inequalities women face on a daily basis.

Brown says the man never texted her back.

It was also not the first time she has been quizzed. People have also said inappropriate and disgusting things to her on social media, email and to her face because she identifies as a sports fan and works in sports.

“I don’t like it and sadly, I don’t understand where it’s coming from,” journalist Melissa Ludtke said. “Megan Brown’s response to the guy questioning her sports knowledge was phenomenal.”

While many assume that women only like sports because the players are cute or they know terms because it is repeated information from ESPN or SportsCenter and not taken seriously. Women’s sports opinions are discounted, no matter how rational or informative it really is.

“A lot of women are knowledgeable about sports, just as there are men who are not knowledgeable,” freelance baseball journalist Jen Ramos said. “It all depends on the person’s interest level, really. That’s irrelevant to being a fan—a fan is someone who has the fervor and passion for their team or sport. With reporting, it’s about being able to report on it and know what you are saying and women in this industry do know or they wouldn’t be where they are.”

However, those dedicated women work harder than anyone could imagine understanding the sports world and they should be respected. As a sports writer, women work harder to make stories interesting so people would want to read them, even with a woman’s byline.

“The attitudes are very stubborn things engraved in our culture and that’s your generation’s job. We took care of the laws back then, but now it’s the attitude in today’s society. It’s really disheartening,” Ludtke said.

Jolene Nacapuy, a senior journalism major, is sports editor for the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at jolene.nacapuy@laverne.edu and on Twitter @_jjolenenacapuy.

Special Report: Journalism's Glass Ceiling
Women still rare in sports reporting
Women sports journalists objectified
Commentary: Women can throw curve balls in sports journalism

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