Female Pioneers In Sportscasting

Female Pioneers In Sportscasting

The inclusion of women in sport broadcasting positions.

Until the mid to late 1940s, sports television was a male-dominated field, and some might even argue, that it still is.

Then, it was considered outrageous that a woman was able to report on sports and continued to be viewed this way until the 1980s. It was then that females held more “prominent roles.

Jane Chastain, one of the pioneers in female sportscasting began working for CBS in the 60’s, delivering play-by-play content. She was the first woman to work at a large network as a sportscaster and “thought to be the first woman to do play-by-play,” as well.

Another pioneer in female sportscasting was Jeannie Morris. As an avid writer and journalist, Morris had no problem securing a job within sports; but her treatment within the industry lacked support and equality from/with her male counterparts. More specifically, when she was tasked with covering a Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears game at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota, she was not given access to the press box, solely because she was a woman.

Despite all odds, Morris still reported the game from above the press box in a blizzard. As a mother of four and wife of an NFL receiver, Morris continued to be unfazed by the disrespect she received.

"Intimidated by people I covered? I think after being the wife of an NFL player for 10 years before I started working, I knew that all these guys were among the most insecure people in the world,'' said Morris, 78. "And I was just naturally curious.''

As time went on, more and more women were beginning to be accepted as sportscasters. Gayle Gardner was another who worked hard and persevered to reach new heights in the workplace. “She was the first female sports anchor to appear weekly on a major network.”

"No one is going to just hand you a job," said Gardner. "For women especially, this profession will never stop being a struggle with constant blows which must be taken."

Around the 1980s, when women’s participation became more prevalent, several former athletes switched from playing to reporting on sports. College athletes Robin Roberts, Ann Meyers, and Donna de Varona were given opportunities to become sportscasters like several ex-male athletes.

Today, there are several female sportscasters that are known amongst the masses, such as, Erin Andrews, Doris Burke, Sage Steele, Cari Champion, Robin Roberts, and Pam Oliver.

With the progression of women in sports come some downfalls as well. For example, in an article, sideline reporter Erin Andrews mentions that her reporting is altogether disregarded at times as people ask non-related questions like “who is she dating,” “what is she wearing,” etc.

While some sports spectators look at female sportscasters as only "eye candy," it is crucial that they are viewed as spectators of a sport that have valued opinions.

Former voice of the Chicago Cubs, Jack Brickhouse said, "women have another dimension that men cannot give. They can give a female's insight into women athletes in swimming, golf, basketball, tennis, etc. How does a man know what problems a woman would have in a particular sport?”

Fortunately, the number of opportunities for women broadcasters are rising, thanks to many pioneers mentioned above. Now, it is crucial that they continue to break barriers for generations to come.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Mid-Major College Basketball Team Stuns NCAA Tournament Favorite, Top Overall Seed Virginia

It’s the most hyped up, exciting time of the year for sports fans. That’s right, it’s the 2018 NCAA Tournament. This weekend, a handful of power conference and smaller conference college basketball teams took the basketball courts in eager anticipation for a chance to survive and advance toward winning a national championship. However, for top seeded teams, it is also the one opportunity for small, mid-major conference teams to make a name for themselves on national television and become villains to those filling out their brackets.

This has been the case so far. Already, two 13 seeded NCAA men’s basketball teams, the University of Buffalo Bulls and the Marshall Thundering Herd, did damage to every college basketball/sports fans’ brackets, respectively pulling off wins over Arizona and Wichita State, respectively. March madness is alive and well.

But just when the tournament couldn’t get any more wild and crazy, it did last night. The top seeded Virginia Cavaliers, coached by Tony Bennett (not to be confused with the legendary singer), traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the America East conference tournament champions the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers. A lot of people counted on Virginia to not only win that game, but to advance to the National Championship and ultimately win it. UMBC punched their ticket to the Big Dance by hitting a game-winning jump shot in the America East tournament final against Vermont. Nobody thought they had a chance.

But the players on UMBC truly believed in themselves and their coach, Ryan Odom. The Cavaliers, best known for their excellent play on defense, found themselves surprisingly tied at 21 at the half. Once the second half began, the game got out of reach. The Retrievers played at a faster pace, with more energy, and kept knocking down two-point and three-point jump shots, while giving the Cavaliers a taste of their own medicine: Virginia was held to 54 points the ENTIRE game! In blowing out Virginia 74-54, UMBC became the first ever 16 seed in the tournament to win against a number one seed. Brackets now are totally busted.

UMBC’s road to the tournament was a strange one. They lost to UAlbany by 44 points earlier in the season, and they clinched a spot in the tournament thanks to a game-winning three point shot over the heavily favored top seed, the Vermont Catamounts. And yet, the team had very high levels of confidence, and didn’t feel phased by the underdog label placed on them. The Retrievers did end up losing to Kansas State in the next round, but their performance against Virginia will be remembered as one of the greatest upsets in college basketball and sports history. Once again, the Retrievers, like the other underdog teams who won, proved that the NCAA tournament is the wildest, craziest, up in the air nationally televised sports event ever. Look for them again next season.

Cover Image Credit: thegamblersreport.com

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Jordy Nelson Is The True Packer That Green Bay Will Never Forget

A letter to one of the best to wear green and gold.

This past week, the Green Bay Packers released Jordy Nelson, a truly devastating day for any Packers fan. As what I would call myself, a super fan, I was quite distraught when hearing the news of Nelson's release. Because of this, I have decided that it would be best to get my sadness out through writing an open letter.

Dear Jordy,

The past 10 years have been incredible. Words can not describe how thankful the entirety of Packer nation is to have been able to share the last decade with you. Whether it was coming in clutch during plays, or that infectious smile, you were always able to make your own fans happy, and never disappointed.

When you came into the league, I figured I was around 9 years old. Though your role was not big in your first couple of years in the league, many people knew you'd be destined for some kind of big role on the Pack. As a kid on the playground in 5th grade, I saw your breakout game in Super Bowl XLV and, instantaneously, I wanted to be Jordy Nelson in many games of playground football.

As the years went on, you continued to get better, to the point where you even made yourself into the "got milk?" poster boy all across Wisconsin. Each day in middle school, I remember walking into the cafeteria, seeing a cardboard cut out of you holding milk and would get some milk of my own, just to be like you.

Eventually, you became one of the premier receivers in the NFL, and there was nothing better than watching that Rodgers-Nelson connection week in and week out. In total, we saw you guys combine for 70 touchdowns in your time with the team, while setting team records left and right.

When you tore your ACL in the 2015 season, we were all devastated. It seemed as though you were going to be primed for another big year, and instead, you were forced to watch from the sidelines. However, you did not take this time for granted. You put maximum effort and time into training the young receivers on the team in order to help the squad succeed, and they did.

Following that season, you were your old self, and it was so awesome to have you back. I remember countless "Jordy!" celebrations in my basement on your way to becoming the NFL's comeback player of the year.

Despite a low year this past season, you were still one of the unquestioned leaders on the team, and a teacher to many. Even though you ended up being released, you will forever be remembered in Green Bay.

You define what a true Packer is. You are hard working, humble, and willing to sacrifice for the team. You are unquestionably one of the greatest Packers to ever do it, and even though there was no storybook ending to your time in Green Bay, no one will ever have the same impact that you did.

Thank you for everything, White Lightning, for inspiring kids all over Packer nation, and being a true role model in everything you do. We wish you nothing but the best in your next ventures, and can't wait to see you continue to tear up the NFL.


Packer fans everywhere

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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