This is BALLS DEEP With Big Daddy Drew (Balls® is a registered trademark and has been used with the expressed written consent of AJ Daulerio). It's gonna be like an SI Point After column, only with dick jokes. You can email him here.
Recently, a group of PGA Tour golfers met privately with Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to ask that Golf Channel anchor and lynching-metaphor employer Kelly Tilghman be fired. When I first heard this news, I thought to myself, "Hey, she must be Jewish." Because, as we all know, the PGA Tour cannot abide any sort of Jew near the course, let alone on it.
But Tilghman, it turns out, is 100 percent pure shiksa goddess. And the Tour players demanding her ouster cited no specific incident to justify their cause, not even the lynching thing. According to the link provided:
They seem to think that she does not have the gravitas or broadcasting expertise to elevate a telecast in the way that Jim Nantz, for example, does on CBS.
Now, it's just like PGA Tour players to bitch about any little thing that displeases them. Tiger Woods is renowned for having chirping birds incinerated on sight. Colin Montgomerie gets angry if anyone is grilling within a 20-mile radius, because the temptation fucks with his swing. And Bernhard Langer can detect even the quietest flatulence. These people are tightasses about every goddamn thing. No wonder they love Jim Nantz.
I've never heard Tilghman broadcast a Tour event. I'm pretty sure I didn't even program the Golf Channel into my Favorites list. But you don't need the wisdom of Harvey "12-Inch" Penick to assume that there's juuuuust a touch of sexism at play here.
Here in DC, one of the main sports talk radio shows is "The Sports Reporters," hosted by Steve Czaban. Czaban, who gets very huffy when agitated, plainly stated in response to the Tilghman incident that he was tired of networks hiring women broadcasters as an unofficial kind of affirmative action. He even went so far as to decry it as "forced integration," a statement I'm sure would delight any number of black Mississippi college students from the 1960's.
Czaban is unapologetic about his "sports sexism," as it were. He doesn't like girls interfering with his sports, and he doesn't feel compelled to apologize for it. I'm a bit torn on his stance. On the one hand, I also don't like women interfering with my sports events.
On the other hand, Czaban is a dick. Which means that I'm probably one as well.
I watched Game 6 of Celtics-Cavs the other night. That was the game that Doris Burke worked on as a color commentator. And the second I turned it on, I thought to myself, "Really? They used a husky lesbian for this broadcast? That's annoying." Even worse, when I'm watching college football in the fall, and there's a game on ESPN and one on ESPN2, I'll purposely watch the game that Pam Ward isn't announcing. Like Simmons and the rest, I'm somehow offended by WNBA promos. I mute every Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya sideline report, but I will happily keep the volume up even when Tony Kornheiser is talking about some player being on his fantasy team.
This makes no fucking sense. There's nothing to justify this kind of mentality. Pam Ward knows her shit. Suzy Kolber knows her shit. Doris Burke knows her shit. So why am I so subconsciously hostile to their very presence on a sports broadcast? I don't like being a sports sexist. I'm not proud of it. Yet there's also a little voice in my head telling me I'm a goddamn pussy for feeling bad about it. Why am I like this? And is there anything I can do about it that requires a bare minimum of effort? First, let's examine the root causes:
Sports As Shelter: This is the most common defense for sports sexism. "Sports is our chance to get away from girls for a bit! WHY DO YOU BROADS HAVE TO BARGE IN ON EVERYTHING?!" I myself am traumatized from having to watch the end of the 1998 NFC Championship game with my truly insane ex-girlfriend, who had come back to the house early despite my explicit instructions not to do so. Then she kept saying shit like, "I think your team is gonna lose, honey. Can we watch a movie?" She said this WHEN THE FUCKING GAME WAS TIED. If there were any justice in the world, she and OJ Santiago would fall down a well together.
But overall, this is a pretty lame excuse. It's hard to exclude half the population from participating in sports broadcasting just because you need a little break from the honeys. Plus, no one ever bitches when a fine piece of ass like Erin Andrews graces the screen with her presence. There's also the fact that I've watched plenty of other sporting events with women on hand (this year's Super Bowl comes to mind) and found their company to be most delightful. So that explanation doesn't wash.
It's The Woman's Fault! I hate Jillian Barberie. She annoys the living fuck out of me. But I'm dead certain this is not a result of sexism, but rather the fact that yes, Jillian Barberie is very, very annoying. So there is a legitimate gripe against some female broadcasters, just as there is a legitimate gripe against any number of male broadcasters. But I think that, if a female and male are equally annoying, the female will get more criticism for general suckitude. Look at Violet Palmer. Most basketball people agree she blows as a referee. But the NBA is LOADED with shitty officials. Why does she get the brunt of criticism? I'll tell you why: no peepee.
I'm A Victim Of A Sexist Society! You see, I'm not sexist. It's just the CULTURE surrounding me that's sexist. I can't help but be a product of my environment, which features any number of totally awesome Bugle Boy ads (greatest ad ever), and filthy gangsta rap songs like "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)" ("Guess who's back in the motherfucking house, with a fat dick for your motherfucking mouth." God, that's poetry), readily available bondage porn videos, and so on. Don't you see? They poisoned my innocent little mind! I'm the real victim!
Again, lame excuse.
Homophobia: My sports sexism is not universal. I like Pam Oliver, like the rest of the badonkadunk-inclined. Hannah Storm is okay by me. And I usually prefer the female SportsCenter and ESPNEWS anchors over most of the male anchors, largely because they aren't trying so fucking hard to be funny. Remember Nancy Newman and Inga Hammond over on the old CNN Sports Tonight? They were good. And Nancy had that thing where she always wore choker necklaces and low-cut shirts, and I really can't say no to that. Could it be that this isn't a case of sexism, but strictly a bias against the, shall we say, river-blocking female population? Oh, fuck. Mary Carillo's gonna introduce my sphincter to a tennis racquet handle in short order. I hope she didn't use Tourna-Grip.
General Misogyny: Years of masturbating to Whitesnake videos will give you an awfully nasty habit of objectifying women. So yep, that's probably it.
Here's my theory: I think that I'm at the tail end of an older generation that grew up uncomfortable with female sports broadcasters and stayed that way. But kids 20 years younger than me are growing up now in a sports world where female sports broadcasters like Pam Ward are far more prominent, and it's more than likely they won't have the same deeply ingrained prejudice against them that I have.
This goes across more than broadcasting. Take women's tennis. I like watching it, and I don't think it's a joke the way I think the WNBA is. But could that be because Billie Jean King whipped up on Bobby Riggs' geriatric ass well before my formative years, making the sport more legit in the eyes of the male sports establishment? Could be. Steffi Graf's ass was also probably a big help. You could crash a Toyota into that thing. I grew up used to women's tennis being a prominent sport. It's not all new and scary to my tiny, sperm-addled brain.
And that, I imagine, is the whole point of this exercise. Czaban called it forced intergration. Well, the reason it's forced is so that people can get the fuck used to it. And if old dinosaurs like The PGA Tour, Czaban, and myself don't like it, then they can all go get fucked.