By Katie Gerber
It is questionable whether the public really knows the kind of abuse that women in the sports journalism industry face. In August of 2015 Sports Illustrated published an article detailing the abuse women reporters face in the locker rooms and on the field. Subjects of the interview remained anonymous however they had no problem sharing their stories.
One of the women interviewed for this article that was published by Sports Illustrated shared a noteworthy story from her career.
This woman was asked for her number by a Major League Baseball team employee who said he needed her number for “another media outlet who wanted her on one of their shows.” This other “media outlet” was actually a starter on the MLB team this employee worked for. The reporter had no knowledge of this development until the player began calling and texting her incessantly asking for photos and requesting to speak with her before the games. She attempted to explain the professional boundaries but these developments continued until he was forced to end the season due to an injury and left the area.
Many other female sports reporters who were interviewed for this article shared their own experiences with harassment.
An East Coast based reporter said that she “[has] been invited into more hotel rooms than [she] could count.”
Another West Coast based reporter said that an NHL player once told her “Nice lip gloss it will look good on my c— tonight.”
“They call at 5 a.m. They Snapchat inappropriate things.”
But it is not just the players who push the boundaries.
One woman recalled meeting up with a team executive for a drink at a work event. Instead of the professional conversation she was expecting the executive kept changing the subject towards her personal life, particularly romantically. The conversation quickly ended after he got a little too comfortable with the reporter.
Another woman stated that an agent wanted her to state and rank how many penises she had seen throughout her career.
Women not only have to put up with this unprofessional behavior from athletes, coaches and team executives, but also with sports fans who are out for blood.
Regardless of criticisms, many women have resiliently overcome the harassment and the critics to advance their careers. However, this issue is still prevalent in today’s culture and requires collaboration to eliminate the abuse women in the sports journalism industry have to endure