Age 18: The guys on the team thought it would be funny to set me up on a date with a desperate guy, who actually PAID THEM to do so. I thought they were being genuine.
Age 19: Our GM invited me to the local 21+ strip club because his buddy was in town and he “wanted to show him a good time.” The next morning he didn’t let us into the office until 12:00PM for a 1:00PM game because he was sleeping it off in one of the luxury suites.
Age 20: A minor league pitcher had the ball boy deliver me a baseball with his phone number on it after cat-calling me all game from the dugout, in front of long-time season ticket holders and the children. I was an intern trying to usher.
Age 21: The guys in the office, including a VP, referred to me as “legs” and had no problem with me hearing it and their subsequent laughing. I don’t even want to know what else they talked about.
Age 22: After a drunk old man grabbed my ass on the concourse, I asked my nearest supervisor for help, and he said, “well, what do you expect when you’re dressed like that?” I spent the rest of the game crying in my cubicle.
Age 23: I had to tolerate an old, perverted man working at the arena sneak up behind me and whisper in my ear all of the disgusting, sexual acts he wanted to perform on me. He also told me that he was the devil – all season long. Even after multiple complaints to upper management, he was never fired.
Age 24: I stopped covering games in Allentown last season because I didn’t feel safe walking alone from the arena back to the parking garage late at night with my equipment. It only takes being followed once to do that to you.
Age 25: I still haven’t met a man who thinks with his brain instead of his d***. Or have I?
Yup. It’s 2016, and shit like this is still happening.
Sure, women have come a tremendously long way in the sports industry, especially in thanks to icons like ESPN’s Linda Cohn and many others. However, it’s still not an easy place for women to thrive by any means.
Imagine walking into the office every day with the constant anxiety of being sexually harassed. As one of the few women in an industry dominated by men, I’ve come to know that life all too well. Anytime I’ve encountered a problem, I would go through a painfully awkward conversation with my superior, who was always male, and usually receive nothing more than half-assed advice and a careless dismissal.
“I’ll make a note on his file. Just tell him to stop. I don’t need to be involved yet.”
“Well, maybe you should stop flirting with him.”
“Sometimes in life, we are dealt challenges to make us stronger. Maybe this is happening to make you a stronger woman.”
Yeah, I’ve actually been told all of that.
Well, now it’s my turn to give all of those twisted individuals a piece of my mind.
First of all, bud, I am from New Jersey. THEY DON’T MAKE WOMEN STRONGER THAN US. If complaining about being sexually harassed is a sign of weakness to you, you’re obviously, quite honestly, an idiot. Nobody, regardless of gender, should have to worry about this in their workplace. NOBODY!
Second of all, what gives you the right to turn around the blame and place it on me? You clearly have no respect for women, whatsoever, and it’s amazing that nobody caught on to how much of an asshole you are during your interview process.
Oh, and a few more things.
I didn’t go to college for Sport Management to be belittled on a daily basis in the workplace by men who have nowhere near the amount of respect for the game as I do. I am working towards realizing a childhood dream I’ve had since I was seven, and you’re NOT going to ruin it for me.
Your bias of staying loyal to the boys of the office isn’t going to help you sell out the arena when your best salesperson, me, leaves for another opportunity that will give me the respect I deserve. If you’re married, God help that poor woman.
And I don’t wear my heels, dresses and skirts for your or any other man’s attention, or to try to lure random, disgusting perverts to grab my lady bits during intermissions. I do it for ME – to feel my best, to perform to the best of my ability, to SHINE.
Nobody deserves to be disrespected in any workplace, but when it comes to the sports industry, we have some extra work to do.
WE MUST STOP THE MADNESS!!! Do not settle for dismissive answers from your boss. Do not ignore the comments and try to “build a tougher skin.” SPEAK UP. If your supervisor won’t help you, go to the next level of management!
DO NOT BE AFRAID! I know how it feels to be debating if it’s worth speaking up or not. We all deserve a work environment where we can thrive, not suffer through name-calling, awkward sexual advances, and unsolicited pictures of your coworker’s unmentionables.
This hockey season, as always, my nails will be done, my heels will be on, and my hair and makeup will be flawless. And while all men will be assuming that I’m “asking for it,” I’ll be feeling as confident as ever and producing the best work I am capable of.
I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for me. And that will always be the case.