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To whom it may concern... Stop belittling women's sports

WIceHockeyGettyPhoto credit: Getty Images via Olympics.com

The following was written as an open letter to address commentary that further perpetuated inferior sentiments around women's sports. While this is one example, it is representative of a larger issue that is disappointingly common. 

Dear WNBC and NBC Olympics, 

I'm writing to express my disappointment and frustration about one of the comments made by local WNBC New York sports anchor Bruce Beck during the Olympic Zone broadcast on February 8, 2022. 

In the segment introducing the U.S. versus Canada women's ice hockey game, Beck said something along the lines of:

"It’s not exactly Yankees versus Red Sox, or Michigan versus Ohio State, but the U.S. and Canada have an incredible rivalry on the ice in women’s hockey..."

What purpose did that comparison serve other than to imply that women's hockey was less important or less interesting than MLB or college football? And to reinforce the idea that women's sports just matter less than men's sports? To make this comment on a broadcast about the Olympic Games where, presumably, the audience has self-selected into those who do care about these events is even more absurd, and frankly, offensive.  

Moreover, constantly suggesting that the most "important" sporting rivalries are in professional baseball or college football – sports where women don't really participate – continues to exclude them. It's an uphill battle for women athletes to get the airtime they deserve, and nonsense like this just makes it even harder.  

The women’s U.S. and Canada ice hockey rivalry is storied. It doesn't need comparison to rivalries in men's sports to contextualize it. It stands alone on its own merit. And it certainly doesn't need a comparison that belittles it.

 

Signed Parity Chief Data Scientist and lifelong women’s sports fan,

Phillippa Thomson