When Kevin Ware was grotesquely injured on Sunday—when his snapped tibia thrust through his shin—this was how his Louisville teammates reacted:
But had it been, say, Louisville's women's basketball team, argues a writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, they would have responded with compassion and sisterhood and a group hug, probably increasing Ware's chances of infection.
"Steely women would've rushed to comfort injured teammate" is an awful headline, and probably not written by Review-Journal lifestyle columnist Xazmin Garza, but she does begin her argument with a case study from the movie Steel Magnolias. Men shy away from a comrade in distress, you see, while women's first instinct is to provide comfort. (Hope you like your commentary reductio ad nihilum.)
Here's a taste:
They were shaken, clearly, by their teammate’s horrific injury. But, with one exception, the only people who rushed to Ware’s side were those paid to do it.
Let’s imagine for a moment that Kevin was Kate and her teammates wore sports bras.
The first instinct for most female athletes would have been to help, no matter how unsettling the dangling ankle. Coaches likely would have had to ask players to back up to give their teammate room.
That’s what happened in 2009, when American female sprinter Muna Lee fell during a relay at the world track and field championships in Berlin. Her teammates crouched next to her as trainers saw to the source of her screams. Lee’s teammates even followed the gurney that rolled her away, despite officials’ aggressive efforts to stop them.
Here's Muna Lee's injury. We should point out that Lee's relay-mates were done competing for the day, compared with Louisville players having to get right back on the court. And also, minor difference, Ware's leg shattered, and there was blood and bone and horror. Lee pulled a hamstring.
So Ware's teammates didn't rush to his side, with the exception of Luke Hancock, who must be totally in touch with his feminine side, am I right? Or maybe people react differently to witnessing trauma. Maybe those players who collapsed on the floor, the ones who physically supported their crying teammates while licensed medical staff covered Ware's gore and formed an opaque huddle around him, maybe their varied reactions shouldn't be reduced to their Y chromosomes.
Garza doesn't want to say that the lady way is better than the dude way. She's just observing, you know?
There’s no right or wrong way to react to a teammate’s broken bone hatching from his leg on a basketball court. But there is a man’s way and there is a woman’s way. At the end of the game, it’s about what works best for the team.
Considering Louisville followed Ware’s last wishes to them and beat Duke, 85-63, it looks like they handled things just fine.
When Hancock stood up and inched his way to Ware, he proved some men really are made of steel. Some men are as strong as women.
At least we live in a post-gender sports media world, where female columnists can offer platitudes as stupid as any male's.