NESN Diary: Your Token Women In Sports Are Over It (And Other Random Thoughts)

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Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we?ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We?re all in this together.

As a woman in sports media, I’m definitely a minority in the industry. Especially given that I predominantly write.

But I’ve always seen my gender as an asset.

That’s because I’m confident in my qualifications, I’m on the path to living out my dream career and, like every other women I’ve met working in sports, I have thick skin.

I mean, we have to. Just look at the stuff we deal with on a daily basis, as was reported in the infamous Washington Post story published Thursday.

Like many of my female colleagues, I wasn’t surprised by the allegations from 15 women who experienced sexual harassment while working for the Washington football team, previously known as the Redskins.

Not in the slightest.

No, this is no longer the late-70’s where we’re fighting for the right to have access to a baseball locker room or analyze sports on television. And for that, we’re forever indebted to women like Melissa Ludtke, Lesley Visser, Robin Roberts, Doris Burke and Jackie MacMullan.

But we’re still dealing with sexism every day. Especially Black women in sports media. As pointed out by the women who spoke to the Washington Post, we’ve become masters at acting like it doesn’t bother us because with how competitive this industry is, we feel lucky to be here.

We’ve gotten good at rolling our eyes with a smirk when someone says something that makes us uncomfortable, as to not make the situation any more awkward. We try our best to ignore all the crap spewed our way on social media because of our appearances.

And we’re used to being one the only females in the room, so much so, that we sometimes pit ourselves against each other because we’re made to feel like there isn’t room for all of us. Because despite how much we deserve our platforms, we’re regarded as token hires.

I think the perception is that it’s the players and coaches that women working in sports have to be weary of, but in my experience that’s not really the case.

Sure, there are your Brett Favre scenarios. But for every one of those, there are way more marketing and sales guys, high-ranking executives and fellow reporters posing as allies. They usually make it a point to sympathize with us for all the sexism and misogyny we must hurdle while doing our jobs — right before they try to ask us out.

Or in Rachel Nichols’ case, they record in private hotel rooms to try and discredit us or make us look conniving.

I’m not making a general statement about all men. I consider many of the guys I’ve met in this industry to be consummate professionals. Every male professor I’ve had or colleague I’ve befriended has always had my back. Same with all of my bosses, especially with these issues of gender equality.

I’m even lucky enough to have had a female editor in my first sports reporting job out of college, and there are nights at NESN where it’s all women on the desk.

But stories like this just bring to light how long we’ve all been complacent allowing this culture to continue.

I’m over it.

And based on the social media reaction to the allegations, and to Darren Rovell’s tone-deaf comments, I think that most of the country agrees.

And now, your regularly scheduled sports content:

— The NFL seemed to be going on with their season as planned, but didn’t provide a ton of details on how. Apparently, because they aren’t completely worked out yet.

J.J. Watt on Thursday revealed a concerning update, or lack thereof, of what he knows and doesn’t know based on calls with the NFLPA. And just two days removed from when rookies are supposed to report to camp.

Fortunately, shortly after Watt’s tweet, teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans informed their rookies that camp is a go, and the NFL and NFLPA appear to be working out the financials.

— The Celtics, since the NBA suspended its season in March, have received more bets for them to win the NBA Finals than any other team. But despite enthusiasm from your everyday gambler, Boston’s lines have worsened.

Maybe it’s because Kemba Walker will be on a minutes restriction to start the seeding games, but according to the point guard, he’s not really concerned and his knee is “trending upwards.”

— New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore had an awesome surprise set up by his girlfriend, Gabrielle, and his two children, revealing that he’d received a prestigious 99 rating in “Madden 21.”

Tom Brady was hyped for his former teammate.

— Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec is among a few players who tested positive for COVID-19. He detailed his experience with the virus.

— David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were late arrivals to Bruins’ training camp, and after returning to practice Wednesday, were absent again Thursday.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy spoke to reporters about the Czech duo’s “unfit to participate” designations. Here are other notes from the practice.

Tweet of the Day

This is equally hilarious and adorable.

Stat of the Day

Video of the Day

This is especially fitting today.

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