Jeff Pearlman

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The truth about networks and female reporters

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So I was skimming through Twitter a few seconds ago when I came across something written by Natalie Weiner, my Bleacher Report colleague. Namely, this …

And this …

So I headed over to the offending article, posted on awful announcing, written by Jim Weber and headlined HANDICAPPING THE CANDIDATES TO REPLACE SAM PONDER ON ESPN’S “COLLEGE GAMEDAY.” And while I found Weber’s takes crudely surface and dismissive of the accomplishments of the mentioned women reporters … well, networks are crudely surface and dismissive of the accomplishments of women reporters. In fact, I’d argue Weber’s piece was painfully precise when it comes to how women are treated in this business.

You’ve seen it and I’ve seen it. With rare exception, networks go for the pretty, the perky, the flirty. They want revealed shoulders and knees; they want men to tune in for the action—but if not for the action, for the shoulders and knees. It’s an absolute fucking joke of a system, but it’s the system that still reigns. Hell, I’ve recently had this discussion with two friends in the business (both women, both former sideline reporters), and while they both agreed some decision-making men had improved in seeing beyond looks, well, “some” does not equal “many.”

So, yeah, Weber’s take sucks. But it mainly sucks because it’s an eye-opening reality for what women in this business face every time they go for a job interview.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life