Weighing in on Erin Andrews bashing

Published On July 25, 2014 | By Alice Cook

I have never been a sideline reporter, and truthfully I am thankful for it.   It was tough enough to endure the sneers, dirty looks and insults that came with being a one of the first female sports reporters in Boston back in the 80’s.  It wasn’t just the players that gave me crap, I also took it from my own colleagues.

I considered my locker room duty the worst part of my job.  It was awkward enough to make my stomach turn every time I had to shuffle in with the horde after a game.  I serioulsy was more nervous going into the Red Sox clubhouse or Patriots locker room than I was the day I skated in the Olympics.

Times have changed for women who cover sports for a living-and that’s a good thing for the many women who have worked hard to make it their career.

The recent uproar over  Boston radio personality Kirk Minihane calling Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews a “gutless bitch,” has fueled the debate over female sports reporters.  In the same breath, Minihane also spat out “I hate her.”

It sounded more like a guy going through a bad divorce than banter on sports talk radio.

No matter how one feels about Erin Andrews, calling her the “B” word on radio and TV is inexcusable.  Minihane did apologize about his remarks the next time he was on the air.  Which was the right thing to do.

Minihane then inexplicably, followed up the apology with this comment.

If Andrews “weighed 15 pounds more she’d be a waitress at Perkins.”

That statement speaks more to the general plight of the female sideline reporter than Andrews’ interview with Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright.  What Minihane was intimating is that Andrews is where she is only because of her looks.  There is some truth to that of course.  How many unattractive female sideline reporters have we ever seen?

Can’t think of one.

I also would like to say that the job is not for the “gutless.”   It takes plenty of intestinal fortitude to report live from the sidelines in front of a national television audience- whether your female or male.

Was Andrews “gutless” because she didn’t ask the tough question?   Come on, this is the MLB All-Star Game, not the Watergate Hearings. Adam Wainwright could have been asked “what’s you favorite color?” and still have given the same 2 minute dissertation.  The pitcher screwed up when he admitted to a reporter earlier in the game that he grooved pitches to Derek Jeter.

The team that wins the All-Star game is given home field advantage for the World Series, which puts a more serious spin on the implications of a pitcher throwing meatballs.

Wainwright realized the mistake of his earlier comment, which immediately blew up on Twitter, then delivered his mea culpa via Erin Andrew’s microphone.

His answer went on forever, and my  guess is that Andrews was hearing from the production truck through her earpiece to ‘wrap it up.’

“Don’t you just love social media?” was the walk off question.

“No, I don’t ” was Wainwright’s reply.

And this is what set  Kirk Minihane off on his sexist tirade the next morning?  Chill out dude.

Through the years I have avoided taking part in any forums that have to do with female sports reporters.  It’s a lose-lose proposition.  You either come off as sounding jealous (only women can be that) of other women in the industry, or you sound like a man basher.  It’s just not worth getting into it.

I will say this though. With 48% of the NFL audience now women, wouldn’t it be nice to bring some hunky men to the sideline?  It’s not just the guys who need the eye candy. Really, who came up with this idea that only good looking women can be sideline reporters?  Men, of course.

There are no statistics that say female viewers want to see women reporting from the field of play.   If she’s knowledgeable and insightful, I am all for it. I also think sideline reporting should be an equal opportunity position.

Then again, maybe Jim Lampley, the first ever sideline reporter, was right when he said, ” I’d get rid of [sideline reporters] entirely.. I just don’t see what it adds.”





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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She's Game Sports and Boston.com. She is also President and Founder of She's Game Sports LLC.