Monday, September 24, 2007


The latest at Deadspin is that ESPN's Erin Andrews gave a player she had just interviewed "what appeared to be a hug and a peck on the cheek" after a college football game last weekend.

Wouldn't someone employed for her "keen intelligence and wit, not her looks," to quote Andrews' Wikipedia page, realize that kind of physical contact with an interview subject is seriously inappropriate for a journalist? It's called journalistic detachment, not attachment.

It's humourous on one level. On a serious note, this speaks to what keeps mainstream sports coverage mostly a boys' club — and in turns, hurts the storytelling. (It's far better to have a number of voices who come at it from different vantage points — that's why there are blogs.)

A woman covering sports is always going to have to deal with small-minded guys thinking she's there as eye candy or to cosy up to the players. Someone who is a visible minority will always have people thinking that they were just hired due to employment equity or political correctness. It's probably true of both in some cases, but the point is, that doesn't make it right to form that conclusion about someone on first sight — that is prejudiced thinking.

Who knows, maybe it's sexism to hold Erin Andrews to a high standard, but ESPN fired baseball analyst Harold Reyolds amid accusations of sexual harassment. Maybe there shouldn't be such taboos about physical contact in a workplace -- zero tolerance usually means zero thought, as Chris Hitchens has put it -- but there are. Why should Erin Andrews be exempt if she's going to be a hug fiend?

1 comment:

Pattington said...


How interesting that since you have written this post, the phrase you quote with respect to "keen intelligence" has been removed.