It’s 2015 and women have made tremendous strides in the
sports industry. They’re in the front
offices of major teams; they’re coaches, anchors, referees, administrators and
much more. You name it; women are doing
it in sports. But apparently an usher at
Lucas Oil Stadium hasn’t
gotten the memo. Sunday after the
Jaguars, Colts game said usher denied three female journalists access to the
Jaguars locker because, well, they were women.
It sucks that the usher didn’t know that many female sports journalists
exist and make their ways to and through many male locker rooms to cover sports
teams. It sucks that in 2015 folks still
have gender biases that impact the way others can maneuver in this world. But rather than dwell on how much these
things suck, I figured it’s a great opportunity to use the usher’s ignorance as
teaching lesson. Here’s introducing (and
re-introducing) some the industry’s top sportscasters and journalists. Oh, and they happen to be women.
You can’t really mention women in locker rooms without
mentioning this woman, Melissa Ludtke.
As a young Sports Illustrated reporter, Ludtke had been assigned to
cover the World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers in 1977. The only problem with the assignment was that
the Yankees (like the other teams around the league) enforced an MLB ban on
women in the locker room. Ludtke and
Time, Inc. (owner of Sports Illustrated) filed suit in federal court claiming
that the policy unfairly
put her at a competitive disadvantage solely because of her
gender. District Court Judge Constance
Baker Motley (a pretty awesome woman
in her own right) agreed
ruling that the policy gave an unfair
advantage to male reporters and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the
14th Amendment. Ludtke and Time’s
refusal to accept the status quo and Judge Motley’s decision literally opened
doors for female sports reporters.
In 1967 when she was hired by
WTVJ in Miami, Jane Chastain became the first female sportscaster in the
US. In 1974 CBS hired her to provide commentary for various
televised sports events. In that same year she became the first female NFL
announcer, as she provided commentary alongside Don
Criqui and Irv
In 1978 NFL Today hired Jayne
Kennedy. This model/pageant winner
turned sportscaster became the first African-American female to host a network
sports television broadcast.
While you may know her from ESPN’s
Sportscenter, Hannah Storm’s career as a sportscaster started well before she
joined ESPN in 2008. She got her start
as a drive-time sportscaster in Houston in the 1980s. By 1989 she moved on to become CNN’s first
female host on CNN Sports Tonight. Storm
has covered every major sport imaginable.
From her coverage of the Daytona 500 to Wimbeldon to the World Figure
Skating Championships, Storm proves time and time again that women know
Bonnie Bernstein can easily be
considered sportscasting royalty.
Throughout her distinguished and well-respected career she has had the
opportunity to cover the NFL, NCAA men’s basketball, college football. She makes regular appearances on NFL Live and
Outside the Lines. She is the first
sportscaster in history to serve as sideline reporter for both a network
television and network radio as a correspondent, reporting for CBS Sports and Westwood One Radio.
I’ve only mentioned a SMALL number of
the pioneers and current movers and shakers in female sports journalists and
sportscasters. If you want to know more,
here are some great links that’ll provide you a more in-depth look at what
women have done and continue to do in sports media.