Friday, April 10, 2009

Gender gap in outlook toward homophobia

A recent study by the Center for Sports Journalism, published in the Winter 2009 issue of the Newspaper Research Journal, found that most sports reporters believe homophobia is a problem in sports -- and more of a problem in men's sports than women's. Most also disagreed with the idea that a male athlete would be accepted if he came out, and most reporters also said they did not think it was appropriate to ask athletes about their sexual orientation.
Not surprisingly, gender and age were dividing lines for responses. For instance, female reporters were more likely to say homophobia is a problem in women's sports. Young reporters more often agreed that homophobia was a problem in men's sports.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

High school sportainment the ESPN way

SI this week examines "March Madness" in high school basketball, focusing on the recent ESPN RISE national tournament. The tourney "represented the NCAA tournament sensibility brought to high school," Phil Taylor writes.
The article goes on to describe the big business emerging from the marriage of big media and scholastic sports. ESPN, in particular, has made a high-profile push into publicizing youth sports. The talent is free and the rights fees are almost as cheap.
Is that where we want high school sports to go? As a culture, we long ago decided to allow collegiate athletics to mimic the pro model (except for, as Andrew Zimbalist points out, the fact that athletes are unpaid and the NCAA can claim non-profit status). Do we want scholastic sports to mimic the college model? What are the implications for athletics in education at the primary and secondary level? Who profits -- and who loses? Parents, educators, activists, politicians -- everyone needs to be in on this conversation.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"This stuff happens all over the country"

A documentary focusing on the homophobic tenure of Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland premiered tonight at the Philadelphia Film Festival. The documentary, "Training Rules," uses the story of Portland, and the player who ultimately helped force her resignation after more than two decades of discrimination, to explore homophobia in women's sports.
Although the documentary uses the Portland story as its narrative, the wider point it makes is vital: That Portland is just one of many coaches, across the country, who have institutionalized homophobia in their programs. As activist and scholar Pat Griffin points out, this isn't an isolated practice. "It happens every day" to the detriment of young women and of women's sports, she says.