Respected Women in Sports: Are They Going Extinct?

Emily DiekelmannCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  TV personality Robin Roberts poses in the press room at the 2008 ESPY Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on July 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  The 2008 ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 20 at 9PM ET on ESPN.  (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

What do Ben Roethlisberger and Steve Phillips all have in common? If you guess that they all make lots of money you’d be right but for sake of this argument, I’m referring to all their recent dirty laundry being aired out in the media.


While Roethlisberger out of the two has probably had it easiest, the charges against him are still publically known and may tarnish his reputation forever and well Steve Phillips, I hate to say it buddy but you are in a class all by yourself.


Not only did you get caught once and you were lucky enough to have your wife come back but the sports gods let your reputation live on only to have you spit in their faces and do it again.  Now what have we learned class? Fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me.


Now before you think that I am only chastising the guys for what happened, I am not letting the women involved get off the hook. Before I begin, I must say I don’t know any of the personally and if this is how they spend their time then I am glad I don’t.


Mainly I want to focus on the most recent scandal involving a young lady named Brooke Hundley. She is 22 and an aspiring sports journalist. So naturally one of the first things she might think is that getting involved with a married man who works for ESPN will be a good career move. Well honey I’ve got news for you, any chance you had at working for ESPN, ABC or anything affiliated with either two probably just went down the tube.


Oh and as a fellow young female aspiring journalist let me say, thanks a lot.


According to a NY Daily News article Hundley is quoted saying “"You never know who you will need help from further down the road ... so be nice, and get to know everybody."


If this is how she is nice and gets to know everybody, there will be men lining up at her door in no time.


Probably the best part of the story is that when told the affair was over, Hundley went crazy and that is how it all leaked out. Oh you drama queen.


You may be wondering why such a talked about news story is the topic of my column. Well let me enlighten you by saying that its instances like this that ultimately make it harder for women to be respected in sports journalism.


Now I am not saying there aren’t women sports journalists that aren’t admired, take Andrea Kramer, Sage Steele, Robin Roberts, and Shelley Smith as just a few examples. These wonderful women paved a road for future female sports journalists that seem to be slowly crumbling.


Organizations are beginning to ask themselves why should we hire women if there is a chance they might go after the players whether they are married or not?


If Kramer, Steele, or Roberts have taught us anything, it is that beautiful women can succeed in a male dominated arena. One thing I’d like to see is Kramer being taken off of the sidelines and being put in the NBC studio Sunday night to go toe to toe with Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, or Rodney Harrison.


Many of these women dominate and electrify whenever they are on screen. Roberts is at ABC now with Good Morning America, Kramer as stated with NBC, and Steele and Smith are faithful ESPN reporters who are seen as equals to their male counterparts.


Print journalism and broadcast are no exception. From Jackie MacMullan who went from the Boston Globe to ESPN, to Melissa Isaacson who writes for the Chicago Tribune and ESPN Chicago, and Nanci Donellan, also affectionately known as the Fabulous Sports Babe who captivates radio audiences, these women show daily what women can do in the world of sport.


Now let’s recap what we have learned; first just because you are in a power position doesn’t mean you take advantage of it, second if you want to get ahead use good ‘ol determination to get there and third just because it happened behind closed doors doesn’t mean it won’t be made public.


To Ben and Steve, I don’t fault you for being men but next time, just say no. As for Miss. Hundley, how does it feel to be back at the starting line?