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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsBend it like Beck

Bend it like Beck: Women need more respect

“They’re just women.” “Men are far more athletically gifted than women. It’s just a fact that everyone knows.” “No one takes women’s sports seriously because women are too emotional.”

Let’s face it: We’ve all heard these sexist comments at one point or another in our lives. Heck, some of us have probably even said it once or twice.

In the sports world, it’s become even more prevalent over time given the defined gender roles in sports. We’ve somehow accepted this and learned to behave in accordance with the expectations of others.

There is also a lack of respect for women in sports, shown by former Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore’s remarks about how men have carried tennis’s popularity for years. Serena Williams, arguably the most popular female athlete of all-time, came out against Moore, showing that others need to catch onto tennis’ plan to have equal pay in the sport.

Even Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who is the 2016 recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, commented on the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, citing it as being too good for the sport and thus losing entertainment value. The J.G. Taylor Spink Award is presented by the president of the Baseball Writers’ of America for meritorious contributions to baseball writers.

There’s also a lack of media coverage, exemplified by CBS’ refusing to air the NCAA women’s hockey championship game between the University of Minnesota and previously undefeated Boston College due to poor ratings. The Gophers would end up winning the game for their fourth national title in five years, but the only way to access the game was via an online stream or a local radio station.

It’s time to stop talking about it and start challenging the stereotypes against women in sports.

Thankfully, and I’m sure many would agree, the discrimination against women in sports has grown less and less by the year.

Over the past year, there have been many highlights for women in sports. The Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as the first official female coach in the NFL. The Women’s National Hockey League was established. And last but not least, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in dramatic fashion.

But it’s not enough. Women and sports still have a far way to go, and the only way real change is going to occur is if people begin to dare themselves to take a step back — which brings me to my favorite “To Kill a Mockingbird” quote — and see what it’s like “to climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it.”

I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman in the sports world and the difficulties they go through on a daily basis. But I’m happy to stand by their side and see what I know they can bring to the table.

On April 3, the UConn women will play Oregon State for a spot in the National Title game. I will certainly be watching the Huskies because of their dominance, and I recommend you do, too.

Jonathan Beck can be reached at jbeck3@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @jonbeck365