One Stray Thought On A Friday

It’s Friday, Friday / Gotta get down on Friday / Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend / Friday, Friday / Gettin’ down on Friday / Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend.

These are my sentiments exactly, but before we can get to “Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) / Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) / Fun, fun, fun, fun,” we’ll have to eke out the last few minutes of a Friday afternoon. In order to help you do that, here is a special edition of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday.

On Amy Nelson And The Case Of Sexism In Sports

Normally, I take my last post on Friday and fill it with ten unrelated subjects that have something to do with baseball. They’re usually fragments of abandoned posts or random thoughts that I come across while watching a game or reading a story online, and I try to explain my feelings on the topic as concisely as I can.

However, yesterday, several of Amy Nelson’s colleagues and other writers spoke out publicly about the insults she has received, both on Twitter and in the comments section of the ESPN piece that she co-authored: The Article Which Shall Not Be Linked. The most retweeted of the comments was this one:

Let me begin by saying that in no way do I support any of the unnecessary slurs sent Nelson’s way. In fact, at first, I didn’t even believe it. I was thinking of writing an article about what was really said about Nelson, and how people are defending her and deflecting criticism for the article by making about sexism.

I was dead wrong.

A quick search of Amy Nelson’s mentions on Twitter pulled up hundreds and hundreds of inappropriate comments,

It’s so depressingly juvenile and stupid, it reminds me that the average person likely has more in common with an orangutang than a great thinker. Insulting her in such a fashion is so rife with contradictions I feel as though it’s going to give me an aneurysm. The reasoning behind using hurtful words in this case would look something like this: I’m so mad that Amy Nelson wrote an article so devoid of knowledge and awareness that I’m going to direct words at are that are even more ignorant than the ones she used. Only in this case, instead of questioning a baseball team, these people are personally attacking someone.

It also upsets me because there are serious flaws and holes in her and Peter Keating’s article that should be refuted, but unfortunately, now that the orangutangs have reduced it to dung flinging and name calling, an intelligent dissent gets tainted.

However, I do take issue with one thing that’s being said a lot here, and that’s that the “sexist shit” that Amy Nelson is currently putting up with isn’t evidence that female sportswriters are treated equally to their male counterparts. If anything it points to the opposite.

Have we not read comment sections before on blogs and websites? It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman or a literal orangutang, you will receive vitriol, and because it’s coming from people who aren’t bright enough to find alternative creative outlets for the dismay in their life, the comments themselves will be of the variety that picks low hanging fruit.

I honestly don’t believe that those making the sexist comments are smart enough or self aware enough to even realize that they’re sexist. They’re picking on the most obvious difference that Nelson offers them and using their slurs with a level of ironic detachment that allows them to delude themselves into thinking that they’re not being sexist.

It happens to me all the time, and I don’t have nearly as big of a reach as Nelson. I also don’t have a very deep voice, and so I get people calling me gay in comment sections and message boards. Hilarious stuff, I know. One time, I mentioned the specific spelling of my mother’s name on a podcast and the next day the comments section was filled with vulgar descriptions of what people were going to do with my mother. I’ve even received emails on a Friday night, when any normal person is socializing or doing something recreationally, that are filled with multiple paragraphs of absolute hate.

There are a lot of sad individuals out there. And they’ll find any target they can to project some of the sadness from their own lives. Even if the comments themselves are sexist, they have nothing to do with treating female sports reporters any differently from than males. There are likely several other places to look in order to find evidence of that.

Remember this article from Jeff Pearlman?