During the Wings-Fever contest on Thursday night in Dallas, the sideline reporter spoke with the NBA’s CJ Miles and Raymond Felton, who were in attendance. One said, “I’m just neutral tonight,” when asked who he was pulling for, while the other said, “I’m just chilling.”
Miles and Felton both had favorable comments about the level of competition at WNBA games. “They play just as hard as we do,” one said.
But the banter was sullied by both players repeatedly referring to WNBA players as “girls” — these girls this, these girls that — which was cringe-worth, at best. Thankfully, Fox Sports Southwest had a woman on the broadcast who rightfully called this out.
“These aren’t girls,” said Raegan Pebley, who is also head coach of the TCU Horned Frogs women’s basketball team. “They’re women.”
But there was nary an ugly tone to Pebley’s voice. As is the case with many women in positions of leadership or power, diplomacy is the key to getting anything done. So, after correcting the word choice of the players, Pebley proceeded to praise Miles and Felton for being at the game to support the Dallas Wings and the league.
To some, reducing elite women athletes to girls is no big deal because Felton and Miles meant no harm. But calling strong women girls is part of an overall issue that rejects women who function outside of narrowly-defined, patriarchy-created roles: girl, lady, wife, mother, whore.
Males, meanwhile, get to be boys, men (not gentlemen, which has a connotation as to the type of man a male should be — just as lady has that connotation for women), husband (or not, since he’s Mr. either way, while women are Miss or Mrs., making marital status a part of her identity — Ms. is the neutral choice), father (or not — and baby-daddy is sometimes praised while women bearing children out of wedlock are called sundry derogatory names) and player (not whore or slut).
All of these meanings are coded in the language so a change in our society’s treatment of women starts with the words we think and use. As this applies to basketball and other professions, we live in a society where girls are appreciated for their athletic skills (see Samaya below), and cheered for during their collegiate playing days, but the minute they go pro they find themselves under a media blackout, ridiculed and harassed online and, often, only able to find respect overseas.
And the disgusting effects of a populace fueled by rage against women who dare to defy these roles — sexism and misogyny in their worst forms — have never been more apparent than in the vile drivel filling various corners of #WNBATwitter lately, which I’ve previously written about here and here.
And which the Dream-y Imani McGee-Stafford wrote about so eloquently in this thread.
In no segment of society would black men accept this kind of treatment based on the color of their skin, yet many dole out these sexist views and bully players from behind their keyboards because they know they’d be handled on the court.
Let’s start there?
And to the manplainers hellbent on finding literally any reason to defend the status quo because it’s just that tough for them to part with their male privilege: Get with the program.
The statistics they use to defend an outdated stance provide evidence of a man-made problem only; they do not prove inevitability or natural law. So, while they’re wringing their hands over the effects — mistaking them as permanent, fixed situations — others are working to identify and eradicate the causes.
But, that’s okay.
Any mansplainer who is willing to study up, and who can pass the 100-level class, will be welcome into the upper division ... eventually.
Until then, these men need to stop coming at players, coaches, teams, the league or journalists covering the league with armchair expertise because most:
- have never watched a game
- know zero about the history of the league
- lack an understanding of what it means to examine a business model within a larger context of gender and race issues that come with women doing anything outside of the aforementioned roles historically assigned to them
The dime-store insights are not appreciated. And the continued arrogance these people display — because society has told them all of their lives that they are everything, that they can have everything they want, and that they know everything just because they have a random thought — has outlived its expiry date by centuries.
THIS SHIT MUST END.
And every person, media outlet or company that carries on, business as usual, as if blatant discrimination is not happening on a daily basis is complicit in sustaining behaviors that are supposed to be illegal.
For those who have had enough, it’s time to speak more loudly with dollars as well as with viewing habits. Specifically:
The galling disrespect of Skylar Diggins-Smith by PUMA and media outlets covering new athlete partnerships with the company must end. She isn’t a rookie player who has never played a professional game; she is a superstar veteran who has been killing it for half a season already. Is there a reason we’re not seeing #4’s face all over everything during an active WNBA season? PUMA will have to come with something different if they want my dollars.
Meanwhile.... https://t.co/XkGMsj3twP— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@SkyDigg4) July 7, 2018
Last night, I posted a bobblehead wish list on Twitter (see below). But, by the looks of the WNBA Store, the NBA is no Santa and I won’t be getting one by Christmas — if at all.
This is a larger collection of WNBA merchandise than I've seen anywhere in the States. https://t.co/9QOWmONVRh— Eric (@nemchocke) July 6, 2018
It’s a money-driven business and all of the arguments point to a need for revenue, to grow the league. Anyone can scour social media and find fans, celebrities, journalists and others practically begging for more merchandise. So, why is it not a priority to produce more stuff, whether kicks or beer steins or bobbleheads?
Are WNBA fans meant to prove their loyalty by knowing to stock up on merchandise while on vacation in other countries?
And then there is the inexcusable matter of NBA Summer League encroaching upon the WNBA’s regular season. There is no reasonable explanation for NBA TV to show bench players scrimmaging in NBA Summer League games instead of airing WNBA superstars, competing on the same night, in matchups that have playoff implications.
Then again, ESPN shows cornhole on its main channel while shoving all of the WNBA games to ESPN2.
Respect is not an option — it’s a mandate.
And respect already has been earned.
From one Phoenix No. 1 pick to another! #WatchMeWork @DeandreAyton is all of us. pic.twitter.com/qTqvTeiSyg— WNBA (@WNBA) July 5, 2018
Thankfully, some people know it.
Meeting DT left @DeandreAyton in awe.— WNBA (@WNBA) July 6, 2018
But has @DianaTaurasi herself ever been star-struck? pic.twitter.com/jMDdpGjNz8
Admire and be inspired!
But to the trolls who can’t deal: Get your thin-skinned selves back into the cave.
GOATs get it done
Diana Taurasi is just greedy, though.
Most made threes in WNBA history, leading scorer in WNBA history ... and now this.
Congratulations to @DianaTaurasi on becoming the official #WNBA leader in all-time field goals made! #WatchMeWork pic.twitter.com/3C57HiqyKl— WNBA (@WNBA) July 6, 2018
Of course, this doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of Taurasi’s storied basketball career. But seeing her on this list 300+ points above the two other active players makes it hard to resist anointing her the GOATness in WNBA history. If the Phoenix Mercury win another title, her GOATness will be cemented ... until someone else comes along to dethrone her. After all, records are meant to be broken.
ICYMI: Rebekkah Brunson wears a new crown
The first 5-time #WNBA champion, and now all-time rebounding leader!— WNBA (@WNBA) July 6, 2018
Here is the BEST of @twin1532 on the glass! #WatchMeWork pic.twitter.com/cxNOyF0w4y
She topped future Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings as the all-time rebounding leader. With five championships and a Lynx win Thursday night against the Sparks, Brunson is proof positive that defense to offense — which leads to rings.
About last night ...
In WNBA action on Friday night, the Seattle Storm got the best of the Dream in Atlanta in what amounted to a Flashback Friday performance from Sue Bird.
WNBA bobblehead wish list
@ecambage on a base of ant-sized people@_ajawilson22 holding a royal flush@twin1532 smashing boards Karate Kid-style@breannastewart with Elastigirl arms@Pr3pE with cape to go with her goggles @S10Bird holding stack of dirty dishes@SkyDigg4 in military garb— Tamryn Spruill (@tamrynspruill) July 7, 2018
Which players do you want to see memorialized in bobblehead form?
Tell us in the comments.
How much are you willing to pay for a bobblehead of your favorite player?
This poll is closed
No more than $25
WNBA All-Star voting is live!
Speak now, by July 12, or forever hold your peace.
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PLAYERS.
Next up in the WNBA ...
A WNBA triple-header tips off Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST on League Pass.
We know, we know ...
A Sparks-Mystics matchup, with significant playoff implications, should be nationally televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or NBA TV.
Oh, and those Lynx champs are playing as well. Aren’t ESPN, TNT and NBA TV known for shoving everything aside when champs take the court? No? Just male champs, like the Warriors?
But not even an interest in the scorching Sun taking on the Aces Saturday night in Sin City?!
My bad — random bench players have scrimmages before a national viewing audience in NBA Summer League. Got it.
But, stay tuned for previews! We’ve got you covered, even if mainstream media outlets refuse to do right by their viewers.
@SamayaCG is already bringing it at the tender age of eight.
She's only 8 but her handles are (via @SamayaCG) pic.twitter.com/9EiSfy6Ei0— espnW (@espnW) July 5, 2018
If this keeps up, she’ll be making grown women cry in no time at all.
However, until the world can appreciate women doing this too (rather than just marveling at the novelty of seeing a child handle), the WNBA may deserve this mini hoops goddess but the society at-large certainly does not.
SamayaCG to the undeserving world:
SamayaCG — In the year 2031 after every timeout:
How to #WatchThemWork all season
Shine brighter. * flicker flicker *