Separate and Unequal

In an industry that loves to honor its own, Lesley Visser of CBS Sports was voted last week as the top female sportscaster in the nation by the American Sportscasters Association.

Lesley Visser

Lesley Visser

I’m sure it was well deserved, because I’ve been a Visser fan since 1974, when she started covering sports for the Boston Globe.  She has always been a superior talent. 

I took note, because I didn’t know there was an award for the number one female sportscaster.  I had no idea there was a “male” award and a “female” award.   Journalism awards (even sports journalism) are not the Oscars (best actor, best actress).  Or maybe they are.  They keep changing the rules on me.

(By the way, the ASA board of  directors is made up of Dick Enberg, Lou Schwartz, Jon Miller, Jim Nantz and Bill Walton.  Not a female in the bunch, though I’m sure Jim got in touch with his feminine side endorsing furniture.  It being sports, maybe they broke it down to the “Testosterone Division” and the “Estrogen Division.”) 

I suspect the line of thinking went something like, “A Visser or Kremer can’t compete for an award against a Costas or Nantz.  So let’s give ’em their own award.”

Separate and unequal.

Which brings us to the reprehensible peephole videotaping of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.

Erin Andrews

Erin Andrews

The most strongly worded protestations of this ugly incident have been written mostly by men who feel guilty about calling her a babe, and ogling the pictures of her chest and derrière, which have been all over sports web sites since she first gained notice for her looks and her work.  And her looks.

The semi-respected sports web site Deadspin has suddenly gone from publishing her “T & A” photos to monitoring the coverage of this story as it unfolds.

The truth is, Erin Andrews is a babe.  A fabulous babe.  A smart, sexy babe with a great job that puts her on a field with athletes and coaches, some of whom are also smart and sexy. 

But no matter how smart and talented she may be, she’s playing on a different field than her male counterparts.

From the Associated Press:  “…she was something of an Internet sensation even before the video’s circulation. She has been referred to as “Erin Pageviews” because of the traffic that video clips and photos of her generate, and Playboy magazine named her “sexiest sportscaster” in both 2008 and 2009.”

And so it goes in the internet age.  I’m sure no one’s googled Al Michaels to look at pictures of his butt.

Maybe that’s why the ASA hands out a seperate award to female sportscasters. 

But it just shouldn’t be.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Diatribes, Media, News, People, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Separate and Unequal

  1. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    You know that old trick of patting your head while rubbing your stomach? Well, Visser’s award is the sportswriting community’s version of it. It’s much more difficult. You have to pat a girlie’s head while patting your own back.

  2. Nicely put, Li’l em. Good stuff.

  3. Kevin says:

    saw the clip in question, and it looked staged to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is more to this story.
    Not blaming the victim if she is one, but I am a little skeptical, especially with how all these pseudo celeb’s vids are mysteriously released on the net and then eventually get traced back to them.

  4. jan says:

    i agree with kevin.what great publicity! if it’s true that it turns out to be self-promotion,don’t these women remember what happened to the woman anchor down south? any kind of publicity is not the answer to get to the top, you have to stay there with hard work and knowledge of the game.which in some cases is woefully lacking.

  5. Kathryn D. says:

    Regarding Erin – The sad fact of the matter, in my opinion, is that any female in broadcasting has to have that “Babe” edge. Nothing has changed. You can see that with another Hartford station as well as with the cable news networks and even The Weather Channel. The younger and sexier females get the attention and the great assignments. Yes, I am and always was jealous of those females who are extremely beautiful, sexy and smart as well. However, I am very curious as to how this video was released on the internet and the motives behind it in the first place. I am sure Erin will survive and thrive.

  6. Gerry says:

    Li’l Em, that’s just perfect.

    Kevin, Jan and Kathryn…I haven’t seen the video, but if the quality was that bad, I have been wondering why ESPN and Andrews acknowledged that it was her. They had a hand in making the tape as notorious as it’s become. They could have ignored it or said it wasn’t her, and it would have gone away.

    But if this was a publicity ploy (and I certainly hope not), god help us all.

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