Women in Sports Journalism v. The World

By Sunah Choudhry, Staff Writer

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Dan Evans | The Montclarion

Cameron Newton, the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, made a questionable remark last Wednesday when talking to a female journalist, Jourdan Rodrigue, during his press conference on Wednesday evening. Rodrigue had asked about the wide receiver for the Panthers, Devin Funchess, and if Newton enjoyed the physicality of how his teammate ran his routes. Newton then responded with a light laugh and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”

Is it really funny to hear a woman who has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Arizona State University talk about a wide receivers’ routes? Women have constantly been put below men throughout history. Unfortunately, this is just another example to the public showing how women are still not treated equal to men.

What really struck me was that this was said to a female journalist. I immediately thought about The Montclarion. There are many female journalists at The Montclarion who are looking forward to graduating and getting a job in journalism. Is this what they have to look forward to? Sexism? As an aspiring journalist myself, I was appalled by Newton’s comment. It’s degrading to be laughed at when you are asking a serious question, especially in a field where you worked hard and gave everything you have into it.

Journalism and sports journalism may be fields dominated by men but that doesn’t mean women should be treated any differently. Many sports journalists have never played a game on a professional level either. There is no reason for Newton to smile wide and then continue to laugh while he responded to Rodrigue. What was so funny about a woman asking a question about football? That’s what sports journalists do, male or female. The only difference is that the men don’t get laughed at for asking a question.

Kimberly Jones, a female NFL reporter, is always someone I see pop up on my Twitter feed. Sometimes I see her post statistics about an upcoming game, but most of the time she is defending herself from sexist male jerks. Jones is always being called names for no reason and is constantly being put in the same situations as Rodrigue every single day through social media. After all the hard work she did to get her degree, she still isn’t treated right. Rodrigue’s situation is not just a one time occurrence, it happens every single day to women in journalism.

Beth Mowins, a CBS and ESPN reporter, has also hit a milestone recently by receiving her masters from Syracuse University. She became the second female to ever commentate a NFL game on Sept. 11, 2017 during the Broncos and Chargers game. It took this long for a female to commentate a football game after 30 years. It really puts things into perspective on how women are treated in the sports journalism world.

Every Sunday, there’s a day full of football games which my dad and I get really excited for, but as an aspiring female journalist it hurts to see that there aren’t many women being put front and center. As soon as you turn on NFL network, you see Good Morning Football, a morning football show with three male hosts and only one female host.

In sports related networks, you notice most of the hosts are men. Then when you watch NFL GameDay, you see men sitting at the table while they send out the women to be the correspondents giving you small updates on how the players are doing and how the weather is holding up. Even when you hear commentators during the game, they are dominantly men. As shocking as it is, there has to be a dramatic change within the community of sport journalists.

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Female journalists go through this every day and there needs to be some sort of change. There needs to be a balance between the two genders represented on television and in the sports journalism world. Newton’s degrading comment might have brought light to the injustice of equality in the sports journalism world, but that doesn’t mean we react without making any progress. As a female journalist myself, I demand change and will work toward creating a difference. I hope that readers will join me, too.

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