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Sports Columnist Patrols the Sidelines for Sexism

Harvey Araton attacks sports media for sexism: "Intentional or not, the sports news media remain a male domain of empowerment where the shocking tale of a 12-year-old girl sexually assaulted three years ago by a football player subsequently recruited at Oklahoma State pretty much represented Wednesday's coverage of women in sports."

Sports columnist Harvey Araton turned in a nauseatinglypolitically correctcolumn Friday, "Turning the Page Amid Inequity In News Coverage." Araton used the beginning of college basketball season ashis jumping-off point, talking about sexism with the coach of the Rutgers women's basketball team, whose team was the butt of radio host Don Imus's infamous "nappy-headed ho's" comment.


He then pivoted to attack the media in general for sexism.


"Welcome to the 21st century, somehow less progressive than the promising conclusion of the 20th.


"Think not? Then let's sample the names in the more prominent sports headlines involving women since Rutgers and Imus: Anucha Browne Sanders (for her civil lawsuit against Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden), Marion Jones (performance-enhancing drugs), Hope Solo (disgruntled United States soccer goalie) and Martina Hingis (failed cocaine test)."


Araton has also written about Sanders and Marion Jones, but apparently exempts himself from his blanket condemnation. By his strange standard, Araton is being a sexist by even writing a column about the Rutgers basketball team, since they were after all merely "victims" of Imus, right?


Araton thenrecycled an anecdote from a 2001 column:


"'Victims and Vixens' - that was how Jane Gottesman, a former sportswriter for The San Francisco Chronicle, once characterized the mainstream news media's vision of gender equity in an essay after conducting daily photo counts that were overwhelmingly one-sided.


"She also monitored Sports Illustrated covers between swimsuit issues and counted four that featured women: Monica Seles, after being stabbed; Nancy Kerrigan, after being whacked; wives of Cleveland Indians players, after being widowed; and Mary Pierce, after being pitied as the casualty of an unstable dad. Soon Gottesman began a long journalistic journey with the photographer Geoffrey Biddle that led to a compelling exhibition called 'Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?'


"With the co-curators as my guides, I attended the exhibition's opening at the Smithsonian Institution in June 2001. When I reached Gottesman by telephone this week to catch up, she said that a condensed version of 'Game Face,' which concluded a five-year tour last year, still circulates via the National Coalition of Girls' Schools."


Araton lectured the media (and audience, really) for not paying sufficient attention to women's sports:


"This year, the W.N.B.A. produced a far more compelling championship series than its big brother, but was virtually ignored. So was Lindsay Davenport after making a resounding comeback to women's tennis after giving birth in June. Eight years after Mia and Brandi took America by storm, most major news organizations (including The New York Times) did not send a reporter to China to cover the recent Women's World Cup; it was almost a nonevent until Solo became a victim of a semifinal benching and then a vixen who was critical of her coach and the woman who replaced her."


Incidentally, a Nexis search indicates Araton didn't write a word about the 2007 WNBA finals last September.


Then Araton really gets hypocritical:


"Intentional or not, the sports news media remain a male domain of empowerment where the shocking tale of a 12-year-old girl sexually assaulted three years ago by a football player subsequently recruited at Oklahoma State pretty much represented Wednesday's coverage of women in sports.


"The player, Chris Collins, was recruited by Mike Gundy, the same source of enlightenment who earlier this season publicly berated a female sports columnist for having had the audacity to express her opinion."


What a bizarre conflation: Conflating Coach Gundy's shout-fest twith the rape of an underage girl. And if Araton truly is criticizing the media for covering the Oklahoma State rape charge, why then did he feel so free to talk about the Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax, the one in which he smeared innocent Duke players?