As a woman who's been fighting for my own place in sports reporting for the past 20+ years, I was extremely surprised at the reaction of the men who read the 'Mean Tweets' received by my friends and sisters in sports broadcasting, WSCR-AM 670 Sports Anchor Julie DiCaro and ESPN Sports Anchor Sarah Spain.
If you haven't seen the video, don't hesitate another minute.
These real men cried, apologized profusely, and stammered as they read such vile and vicious Twitter comments as:
"I hope you get raped again" (toward Julie) and "Self-important c***" (at Sarah.) "
Maybe it's my years of taking the same kind of general abuse, but I didn't expect the men to cry.
For those who are just reading this story for the first time, let's bring the recap, courtesy of the New York Times:
....Produced by Just Not Sports and posted Tuesday, men sat across from DiCaro, a radio host and Sports Illustrated reporter, and Spain,an espnW reporter and ESPN Radio host. These men were not the ones who had sent the tweets; they were just friends of the producers asked to read selected ones sent to the women, sight unseen, and it was kind of like Jimmy Kimmel’s mean tweets comedy bit. Except the comedy part. The tweets they had to read included, “You need to be hit in the head with a hockey puck and killed” and “Hopefully, this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim.”
Brad Burke, who runs Just Not Sports, told the Chicago Tribune that the video was created as "a new way to make guys see and experience the effects of online harassment."
DiCaro and Spain have worked long and hard to get to where they are today. And they, along with WBEZ's Cheryl Raye-Stout, are the 'Token Females' of Chicago's terrestrial radio world today. DiCaro and Spain are taking most of the hits because they work for the male-dominated world of The Score and ESPN, which are 50,000-watt powerhouses.
And since the video went viral, they've been taken to the woodshed, via anonymous rants again: From the LA Times:
OH NO, someone said something mean on the Internet, I'm going to wilt and collapse into a puddle of jelly!
Equal rights, equal lefts. Where are the so called strong independent women now? Such hypocrites. So fragile and weak. Can't do anything without trying to get the government or corporations or White Knights to protect them. Ohhhhh someone said mean words to me. I need my safe space. You have no idea that you are the reason Trump exists. You hate Trump with an unbridled passion yet you created him. Irony.
@lovetoreadLAtimes They want equal, they GET equal lol...
@ReaganNational Exactly. They can't have it both ways. Cry me a river.
Have any men been threatened with rape? Have any men been videotaped naked, ala Erin Andrews? Have any men been so personally threatened? I'd like to know.
I've written and spoken about the dearth of women sportscasters on major Chicago radio stations for several years.
When I co-hosted 'The Weekend Sports Report,' I was told repeatedly that the prime market for radio sports in Chicago was "18-54 year old males."
I was also told that the larger audience (not ours, apparently) "didn't (generally) want to hear a woman give her opinion (on sports) Nor did anyone care about women's sports, so, "quit talking about them during one hour we have. Now, If we had two hours...."
But...does the target audience being young men explain how personal and vicious the 'Mean Tweets' became? Should all 18-54 year olds, who grew up with Title IX, women on sports teams, and generally, should know better than to tweet something their mother would be ashamed to read?
The relative anonymity of social media posts seems to guarantee that assaults like these will continue.
But here's a warning: everything done in the dark will eventually come to light.
Look at former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. He may be 74 years old, but he's lost every bit of the anonymity he had molesting boys on the Yorkville High School wrestling team some 40 years ago.
When someone wants to subpoena your social media records, they will. You will be found out as a harasser, a troll, and a misogynist. It's only a matter of time.
Find some respect, for all people, regardless of gender.
What are your thoughts?
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