Matt Walsh, a conservative media provocateur, isn’t thrilled with what he feels has become a feminization of pro football. The Daily Wire host weighed in on Lindsey Gough, the Savannah reporter that posted a video of fans harassing her and touching her and her equipment during Georgia’s win over Clemson on Saturday.
According to Walsh, the problem in the video wasn’t people putting their hands on the reporter and her work equipment. It is that women can’t just be cool about the situation!
“I must say, this situation only demonstrates why I, personally, prefer for sports broadcasts, especially football broadcasts, to be handled mostly by men. Lindsey, though worse than the average — even as far as female sports reporters go — is definitely not the only female to enter into this mostly male space and seek to feminize it. She wants the football stadium to be quiet and gentle, considerate, respectful of personal space. She wants it to be a more feminine environment. She’s not trying to assimilate herself into the culture of football fans, she is rather hoping that they assimilate themselves to her.”
Political commentators weighing in on sports issues is nothing new. But suggesting that pro football has lost some of its edge due to women reporters trying to insert their influence over it is a hill that not many media members have been willing to die on.
“This phenomenon is so far-reaching in football especially that they’re even changing the rules now to make the game itself more gentle and feminine,” Walsh continued. “Football, you know, is still violent, but it’s less violent than it used to be. This year they’re even focusing on penalizing players who say mean or rude things to each other on the football field. They’ve been doing this during the pre-season in the NFL.
“All of this, along with the token female sideline reporters and the female analysts at half-time – it’s an effort to make the game less appealing to the people the game was invented for to begin with.”
It should be noted that “penalizing players who say mean or rude things to each other” is nothing new. That’s called “unsportsmanlike conduct” and it always comes with a 15-yard penalty.
For the record, Walsh had nothing to say about Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit, two of ESPN’s top college football voices. The duo discussed how poodles should have their hair cut once things got out of hand between Ole Miss and Louisville.
Study Finds ESPN Leading Sports Media’s Gender & Racial Diversification
“Sports media at large made little progress towards a more diverse workplace as white-male influences are still dominant.”
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released a report card detailing race and gender among sports media recently for the first time since 2018. Dr. Richard Lapchick and his team at the University of Central Florida put together the report. Lapchick is the endowed chair at UCF’s Devos Sport Business Management Program.
Sports media at large made little progress towards a more diverse workplace as white, male influences are still dominant.
The 2021 Sports Media Racial and Gender Report Card: Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report Card showed minor improvements for the organization compared to 2018. APSE improved on its racial grade with a B-plus but still received an F in gender grade.
“We need more women in this industry,” former APSE president Lisa Wilson said in an ESPN article. “We need those voices. We need that perspective. We need them making coverage and hiring decisions.”
Racial demographics showed a much larger improvement across the board in a few key areas. Something the Rainbow PUSH Coalition has been hard at work to change.
“The stories that are being told should reflect those on the field as well as the audiences that they reach,” The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said to ESPN. “Dr. Lapchick’s report indicates there has been some progress, but the sports media world is still overwhelmingly white and male.”
Lapchick noted that ESPN is a big driver in sports media’s racial and gender equity growth, so much so that removing ESPN from the equation massively impacts diversity across the industry.
Removing ESPN from the study brings the total female percentage of sports editors from 16.7% to 13.5% and columnists from 17.8% to 13.8%. The same is true on the racial side of the equation.
Taking ESPN out of the data completely, means sports editors of color would decrease from 20.8% to 18.9%, assistant sports editors from 27.7% to 22.7%, columnists from 22.9% to 18.1%, reporters from 22.9% to 22.5%, and total staffs from 23.5% to 22.0%.
ESPN takes plenty of heat in sports media circles, but they deserve a lot of respect and acknowledgment for how they have tried to level the playing field with their gender and racial hiring practices.
Check out the full report here.
Ariel Helwani To Produce Content For BetMGM
“Helwani noted how much he enjoys MGM properties every time he goes out to the Nevada desert for a big fight.”
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani announced on his Substack that he is joining BetMGM as a content producer. Helwani is cooking up content for the service leading up to UFC fight cards while having access to the sports book’s treasure trove of data for his analysis.
“I’m working with great people each and every day. This is the dream. But there was one more partnership I was looking to secure,” Ariel Helwani wrote in his announcement post. “As you all know, sports gaming has exploded in America, and, of course, it’s a massive part of the way people talk about and consume combat sports.”
Helwani has put on a bunch of different hats since leaving ESPN, including new roles with SB Nation, BT Sport, and The Ringer.
“So, I wanted to partner with a gaming company, too,” Helwani continued. “To provide content for and to share content leading up to events. This was big for me. And, truth be told, there was only one entity I wanted to team up with and only one that I actually spoke to: BetMGM.”
Ariel Helwani noted how much he enjoys MGM properties every time he goes out to the Nevada desert for a big fight. He also mentioned one key relationship that threaded his time at ESPN with this new role, his connection to BetMGM COO Ryan Spoon.
“Spoon was the digital content chief at ESPN during my time there,” Helwani wrote. “He’s a great guy. Very non-corporate, which is my style. I enjoyed working with him very much.
“Well, late last year, he announced that he would be leaving ESPN to become the new COO of BetMGM. I found this move to be fascinating on many levels, but it also told me that if Ryan was willing to leave a great gig at ESPN for BetMGM, BetMGM was a special place to be.”
Like so many ESPN ex-pats before him, Ariel Helwani is leveraging his brand just fine during a fresh stage of his career.
All-22 Camera Returning To NFL Game Pass
“As of Sept. 23, the service hasn’t returned. Many buyers purchased Game Pass under the guise that All-22 would be included.”
Media members in and around the NFL can soon rejoice.
Pro Football Talk is reporting that All-22 film capabilities are returning to NFL Game Pass today. All-22 is exactly what it sounds like; the viewer can see all 22 players on the field during any given play. The camera view from each end zone is one of the many angles NFL coaches use to break down film of their teams and opponents.
The service has not been accessible on Game Pass for months now, and it has hampered the media at large from diving into their NFL analysis.
“We are targeting the end of Week 1/early Week 2 for coaches film to be available,” an NFL spokesperson told PFT earlier this month via email. “The team has a demo scheduled for mid-week next week and will deploy accordingly.”
As of Sept. 23, the service hasn’t returned. Many buyers purchased Game Pass under the guise that All-22 would be included. So far, those promises aren’t being kept. Users were also upset about search functions being removed from the website.
They’ve been through this song and dance before with the new version of Game Pass. PFT also reported on an All-22 re-launch date in early August.
“According to the league,” Mike Florio wrote last month. “The goal is to return the all-22 film to Game Pass service by the start of the regular season. The technical interface to Game Pass has changed, and it could be a technical issue associated with the transition. Whatever the reason, the all-22 film will be back in time to watch the film from the 272 regular-season games to be played in 2021.”
Nearly a month into the 2021 NFL regular season and Game Pass is still having issues with its interface. With most media members still barred from locker rooms, reviewing film is one of the ways some reporters supplement their coverage.
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