There’s no real need for an intro (I am however going to fix the grammar and blend together three tweets (that were meant to go together) into one quote):
“Good http://SI.com piece on women in sports media from @richarddeitsch. Check out question No. 7. [Why have we not seen a woman calling play-by-play full-time in the NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL?] For me, women calling games isn’t about skill [or] knowledge, [because] there are women who can talk circles around current, terrible men [play-by-play announcers], but [they] play a role. Women’s play-by-play voices on NFL/NHL changes [the] viewing experience for me. Personal preference. (Doesn’t apply to analysts).”
The quote was then followed up with what is really a tremendous amount of backtracking:
“[Play-by'play] is a role, [and] male voice better fills it, for me, for now. Open-minded about it. I wanna see woman Doctor Who. And Angelina Jolie as Bond.”
“As @chiparm notes, a lot of [male] [play-by-play announcers] don’t have that voice either. I could die a happy man if I never hear Ian Eagle call another NFL game.”
“@tcita You’re confusing analysis w/ narration. I’d love for women to crack analyst role in sports. But the real Old Boys Club is in studio”
“@tcita I apologize if there was confusion here, but I was never arguing women shouldn’t get a shot on PbP. Just my preference.”
“@theycallmedubs “I would rather listen to a male voice in that role, but I’m open minded about it” Let me narrow down your generalization.”
“@theycallmedubs That said, kudos for being the first to call me a misogynist. Should have taken the under on that bet.”
“@theycallmedubs Check my feed. 140 characters doesn’t really allow for the details in a single tweet sometimes.”
Wyshynski’s error was twofold. First he did an awful job at articulating what I assume was supposed to be his actual meaning, that he hasn’t yet found a female play-by-play announcer that he likes. Unfortunately, what he said was that he does not like women play by play announcers because they are women. Second, he failed to understand that neutrality on the issue (or open-mindedness) as he calls it, is reinforcing a status quo that is currently unequal. He’s saying he’s open to change if it satisfies his undefined criteria of what a makes a good female play-by-play announcer (we can already see that it’s exclusive of knowledge and skill), but he’s also fine if the current sexist system remains in place. I believe him when he says he doesn’t think he’s a misogynist, at least I believe that he isn’t a willful, intentional misogynist, but he’s still a misogynist. In fact, he’s the kind of confirmation-bias misogynist that makes progress so difficult.
Part of the reason (probably a large part) that male voices shape Wyshynski’s “viewing experience” is because of the misogyny and sexism that was present in the system to begin with (and still is). That sexism has brought Wyshysnki’s brain to make “male” and “play-by-play announcer” inextricably linked. So much so that Wyshynski couldn’t even do the bare minimum to head off the growing rage-storm, that is, admit there is a problem in the first place. It’s not affirmative action, and it’s not propping up the under-qualified for the sake of diversity to admit that regardless of all other factors, it’s kind of a disturbing trend that there are so few female play-by-play announcers. And if you really aren’t ready or willing to listen to a female play-by-play announcer, admitting that there is a problem doesn’t conflict with that.
In fact, in his zeal to backtrack, Wyshynski doesn’t ever admit there is a problem with female representation anywhere. Sure, he’d love to see Angelina Jolie play James Bond because, thanks to her roles in various action movies, she embodies many of the stereotypically male-identified traits that we associate with Bond, athleticism, charm, reveling in violence. (Get back to me when you want, say, Rooney Mara or Natalie Portman to play a willowy, feminine Bond and actually try to break stereotypes.) He wants to see her play Bond because it’s an amusing novelty, not because it’s a small step in reversing the trend of male-dominated action movies. (Or the representation of women in movies in general.) It is in fact counter-productive for Wyshysnki to cite so many examples because each and every single one of them is coming from a perspective of male dominance.
The best he can do is call his words “personal preference” as though that allows him to gracefully step out of the conversation (a Wyshynski trait if you’ve ever gained the upper hand on him in an argument before). He can’t even admit to the possibility of there being subconscious bias in his thoughts, instead growing combative with detractors and throwing out examples of his definite non-sexism in the hopes that one of them sticks. It’s not weak to admit that you’re lacking perspective…we’re all lacking perspective on one thing or another, it’s weak to continue to stand your ground out of a need to prove…something.
The wort part is that he seemed genuinely baffled that his own poorly chosen words had ignited such a firestorm, as though it was somehow okay to say that he doesn’t like female play-by-play announcers solely because they are women (going so far as to explicitly say it isn’t about knowledge or skill) and that the “personal preference” of a major hockey columnist is something that 1). people should let be, or 2). isn’t an enormous part of the problem.
You can certainly be sure, no other team wears jerseys that look like those that the Buffalo Sabres put on Sunday evening. Oh sure, Nashville has their yellows, but they don’t quite have the effect of what essentially looks like a superhero outfit; garish yellow front, gray cuffs, and a navy blue cape. They’re certainly better than the outdated trash that the Red Wings were wearing, jerseys that look so old you half expect them to vote for George Wallace and curse Abe Lincoln’s name. No, the Sabres third jerseys are certainly trying, which is more than you can say for any of the original six franchises, and throw the Devils and Islanders in for good measure, whose decaying looks so well encapsulate rust belt failure and the ‘afraid of new things’ mindset of those in charge of the NHL.
To the hockey part of things, you expect an old-but-still-good team like Detroit to do exactly what they did to the Sabres. They might have five players on their roster (Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Franzen, Weiss, and Zetterberg) better than any skater on the Sabres and that says nothing of their defense that, while somewhat unknown, keeps getting results.
Too High: Every team? Okay, Montreal and Detroit for different reasons. Montreal I just don’t see the star power there. Detroit, I see it, but it’s old.
Too Low: No one. I honestly have trouble picking someone from this mess and saying they’re better than any of the other teams.
Too High: Colorado. I feel like this fall back to being a mid-tier playoff team is coming.
Too Low: Chicago and San Jose, the classes of the West.
Gosh Lauren Hart sucks. From missing words to hamming up the national anthem, each performance of her is laced with its own special atrociousness. Someone needs to tap Ms. Hart, and most other anthem singers on the shoulder, and remind them that the anthems are not about them and they shouldn’t be used as a proving ground for vocal range and how many extra syllables you can insert into a word.
Oh right, hockey. The team was out-shot 46-30 and most everyone looked bad at hockey.
Before we get to the Stars and Black Holes, please enjoy this liveblog I did during the game. Or don’t. Free country.
Welcome to yet another forgotten recap! If you think there was a delay because I wanted to recap the Leafs games together, you are correct. If you think there was a delay because I was lazy and busy, you are significantly more correct. The Sabres did well for themselves against a team that pretty much everyone knows to be right there with them in terms of lousy possession play. In fact, heading into Friday both teams were tied at a -10.6 even strength shot differential per sixty minutes, worst in the NHL.
I’ve been searching my soul for a #HotTake on the departure of Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston and the hiring of Pat Lafontaine, Ted Nolan, and (presumably) other people mostly because everyone was doing it, but also because I wanted to try and find some emotion inspired by this team other than the joyful glee you get when you start tossing things into a campfire just to see how they burn and maybe, if you’re lucky, explode.