If you don’t pay attention to the thrilling world of ice hockey, you likely haven’t heard about Semyon Varlamov (above), the star goalie for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. Last Wednesday, Varlamov turned himself in to Denver police for domestic violence. On more sports fans’ radars is the news this week about Miami Dolphins’ guard Richie Incognito, who is accused of bullying a young teammate so mercilessly with racist and homophobic slurs that the player felt compelled to leave the team.
Both cases highlight the tendency of sports and mainstream media to give athletes a pass for conduct that would be reprehensible in people not worth billions of dollars. But both media and management treated the two cases of abuse very differently. While Incognito’s bullying of a teammate has resulted in a tidal wave of bad PR and administrative punishment, Varlamov’s alleged harassment of his girlfriend has so far resulted in very little comeuppance.
In this historic week of Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and the Voting Rights Act, we're thinking a lot about intersections. More than ever, it's clear that making America a more equal union means defending the civil rights of everyone—not benefitting one group of people over another.
This week's Popaganda focuses on those areas of overlapping identity, digging into the framing of race in media with Colorlines.com Senior Editor Jamilah King, talking with transgender ice hockey player Micah Barritt about gender dynamics in athletics, discussing the link between feminsm and biking with author Elly Blue, and exploring the political need for linking immigrant rights and LGBT rights with Basic Rights Oregon racial justice organizer John Joo.
Clare Balding has been a regular fixture on the sports scene since the early '90s. She's a former amateur jockey, and she's one of the few out lesbians in British television. Her coverage of the 2012 Olympics drew rave reviews, and won her a prestigious contract as the face of Channel 4's racing coverage as well as the Paralympics coverage starting next week over on the BBC.
But it hasn't all been a feminist Balding lovefest in the British media.
In the aftermath of the Olympics, ending as it did with a whimper rather than a bang thanks to Friday's disappointing closing ceremonies, the impact of the past two weeks is only just starting to sink in. It marked a number of firsts for women, including the first women from Saudi Arabia to participate in the Games, and the first female boxers to compete for an Olympic medal.