"Don’t be a troublemaker. Check your dignity at the door."
December 26, 2017 10:34 PM   Subscribe

The #MeToo movement comes to sports, a reckoning long overdue — sports journalist Lisa Olson, writing for The Athletic, reflects on her own highly-publicized sexual harassment story and shares stories of what some of her female colleagues have had to endure, ultimately concluding with some guarded optimism about how the #MeToo awakening is bringing more of these stories to light.
posted by tonycpsu (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I find it a little odd, the way we're going from industry to industry on this. I see how it started in movies with Weinstein and many unspoken histories coming to light. But it seems to be assumed in places that actually, all is well elsewhere and it's just those bad apples from film or music, those rotters - until we get another exposé and enough women are brave enough to speak up from a certain sector. Like, no, surely not sports as well? Surely not publishing? Surely not kitchen design? Surely not widget production? And my worry is that when it becomes sensationalised like this, people gradually lose interest in the drip-drip of new stories. Oh look, women are upset in the piano stool industry now... It needs a shift in perspective. Of course, surely sports. Surely everywhere. There are rotten men every fucking where.
posted by giraffeneckbattle at 3:59 AM on December 27, 2017 [15 favorites]

Discovering that that entire U.S. Gymnastics team that was the focus of such huge national excitement and pride was being abused is such a devastating "it can happen to anyone at any time" moment that I have trouble understanding how it hasn't paralyzed the entire country with shame. It was just a couple years ago that they were figures of national hope.
posted by gerryblog at 6:25 AM on December 27, 2017 [15 favorites]

I suppose I take the more optimistic view of this: the more these things come out, the more people will start to see that it’s baked into our culture rather than it being a problem with just those immoral Hollywood types. It’s similar to the reason why I think it’s good that Al Franken was called out for his actions. It is not just the “bad others” who do this; you don’t have to be a bad person across the board to engage in this. Harassment and abuse are such an implicit part of our culture that even the “good guys” engage in it. More and more things like this coming to light is the only hope we have to start taking steps to fix it.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:29 AM on December 27, 2017 [19 favorites]

Like, no, surely not sports as well?

Honestly, given the preponderance of public cases of spousal/girlfriend abuse throughout sports, I'm somewhat amazed that the sports world wasn't the first industry to be exposed.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

gerryblog: If Americans were capable of shame (especially where sports are concerned), Penn State would no longer have a football program.
posted by Ampersand692 at 6:53 AM on December 27, 2017 [31 favorites]

Fair point.
posted by gerryblog at 7:03 AM on December 27, 2017

I always assumed sports had to be one of the worst places for sexual harassment. Given how the NFL has routinely defended players who have been convicted of murder, domestic abuse, assault and rape, what else would you expect? (Not that it is in any way OK, just not unexpected.)
posted by pjsky at 7:40 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

I've always thought the idea of having reporters of any sex or gender in the locker room was bizarre. Dressing, showering, and doing your ablutions with your team-mates is one thing, but why should the players have to put up with a bunch of microphones and cameras as well? Don't they deserve a few minutes to relax and tend to their bodies in peace - is there some reason the interviews can't wait a few minutes until they're finished in the locker room?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:42 AM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

It was just a couple years ago that they were figures of national hope.

... and it will be around 900 or so days until people will care again. Like many sports, it operates on a 4 year cycle where it goes from very few people caring to suddenly being the most important thing in the world for a few weeks, maybe a couple months if the results can be exploited for interviews and cereal boxes. Plus, everyone has their own blind spots. Even here, when this issue was brought up before, there were a few "yeah, but" style of comments re: Gymnastics that you wouldn't see about other topics.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:52 AM on December 27, 2017

The woman Olson describes as the "preeminent baseball reporter" is one of my dearest friends. She regularly tells me stories of having to prove herself, day after day after day, that yes, she belongs in the locker room and yes, she knows her beat backwards and forward, and hey, she's been covering sports longer than many players she's covering have been alive, so a little respect here, okay?

I saw her a few months ago and I asked her: so, is #MeToo finally happening for your industry, too? And she looked at me and smiled her kick-ass smile, and said, hell, yeah. It's fucking happening.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 3:48 PM on December 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

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