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erin andrews

Photo on 2-9-15 at 4.59 PM #2

So about five minutes ago I was in the press box dining room as Fenway Park. A female employee of the Red Sox was sitting at a table, a few seats down from myself and some schlubby dude in a give-away-from-some-lame-event polo shirt. After a few bites, Schlubby turns to the woman and says, “That’s a nice outfit you’re wearing—a different kind of style for you. Where’d you get the dress?”

The woman responded kindly (“Oh, thanks. But I’ve had the dress a while), but I have to believe she was thinking, “Great, another f—ing loser writer looking at my breasts and struggling for something to say.”

I bring this up in the wake of a sadly unsurprising TV moment, when Dick Vitale—being interviewed by ESPN’s Erin Andrews about his beloved Tampa Bay Rays—said, “(Rays manager) Joe Maddon has done a great job. Not as great as you, though. I tell you one thing. All I know is this: If Bo Derek is a 10, you are 15.”

Ugh.

This is the sort of crap I’ve witnessed for more than 10 years in the business, and it continues to mortify me. Here’s Erin Andrews, a professional announcer who works hard, prepares and prepares and prepares, has covered some absolutely awful events in an effort to establish herself—being compared to Bo Derek. Does Vitale think Andrews is supposed to be flattered by this? Is she supposed to shed her professionalism and flutter, “Oh, Dickie. Oh, Dickie.” I still shudder at a moment I witnessed two years ago, when a former Expo outfielder named Warren Cromartie was doing some radio work with the Florida Marlins. “Cro” was in the press box when a young female reporter approached him for advice. As she walked away, “Cro” muttered to the nearby men, “Check out the ass on that stallion.”

In hindsight, I am disappointed in myself. My reply shouldn’t have been silence, but a loud, mighty, “DID YOU JUST SAY ‘CHECK OUT THE ASS ON THAT STALLION!?” I should have made him feel as pathetic and minimal as humanly possible.

Alas, I just kept on typing, thinking, “What a dumb-ass” while doing nary a thing.

Shame on me.

Even in the year 2008, sports writing remains something of an old boys club. Ninety percent of us have no social skills. We spill grease on our free 1993 World Series polos; we kissed a girl once (And it was on the cheek. Of a third cousin). We talk the talk when it comes to women and sex, because we’re embarrassed to admit we go back to the motel after the game and watch porn or cry over 2 am “Highway to Heaven” re-runs.

Women work their asses off to enter the field, and many are truly fantastic. But the crap they have to deal with … well, it’s just wrong. On myriad levels.

9 replies on “erin andrews”

Best invention ever — Bose noise canceling headphones. Not only does it drown out crowd noise, but no one talks to you in the press box, and if they happen to make suggestive comments about your boobs, you can’t hear them anyway.

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I’m sure those come in handy for you, Alyson, since you get to deal with Milo Hamilton frequently. Have you heard him on Dean and Rog lately (93.7 FM), talking to Suzie? Creepy.

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The Erin Andrews (and others) situation is, sadly, the double-edged sword of being a woman working in both a visual medium and a field dominated by not just men but lifelong fanboys. Generally speaking, physically attractive women get the jobs, and are then surrounded by men who’ve made a career of being socially inept. Sometimes I think women in sports and sports reporting have the worst jobs in the world.

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Go to a women’s college volleyball match and sit with the Rivals/Scout writer for that school. The comments are a lot worse than anything Dickie V could dream up. And yes, they have stains on their free “Celebrity Golf Scramble” polos too.

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Bravo. It’s a persistent cultural problem that extends beyond sports: I recently read the application of an aspiring writer who had written an article on accomplished metal singer Angela Gossow and kept focusing on her physical appearance rather than her phenomenal talents as a performer – and the writer was a woman, too! If things are going to change, we’ll need to keep calling people out on seeing gender first and professional ability second.

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So you are willing to rake John Rocker over the coals, but if the target is a little tougher than a hayseed from middle georgia, you don’t say anything and then whine on your blog?

You are something else.

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I hate to see the other side of this one, but the fellow said two things that make me think this may have been nothing but an innocent compliment.

One, noting that the dress was “… a different kind of style for you” suggests the man at least casually knows the woman, perhaps knows her well enough to know how she normally dresses.

Two, the question “[w]here’d you get that dress” might imply he wants to know because he thinks the style might be flattering for his wife, daughter or some other person.

Now all of this comes with a grain of salt: I wasn’t there, and you were. If he said it while or just after leering at this girl for five minutes, or with drool coming out of his mouth, that changes things. But just based on what was said, these remarks pale in comparison to Cromarties’. (In the fairness of full disclosure, I’ve probably said some similarly appalling things about women in the company of men).

So let’s not turn every positive comment about a woman’s appearance into sexism; after all, we’re not all Tom Brady. (And if you don’t get the reference, see the workplace ettiquite film he did on SNL a couple years ago.)

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