In honor of the French Open this week, it felt appropriate to highlight the achievements of the female singles winner from 56 years ago: Althea Gibson. Long before Venus and Serena started making waves in the tennis world, Gibson was not only the very first African American tennis player to win ANY of the major Grand Slam tennis tournaments independent of each other, she won three of the four (the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open) during her amazing tennis career.
After witnessing some of the ugliest effects of sports culture play out this past week, it's good to see that some douchebags are being held (somewhat) accountable for their actions. In Buffalo, Wyoming, Pat Lynch stepped down as Buffalo High School football coach after circulating a "Hurt Feelings Report" survey for his team before a playoff game. The survey asks you to check if you are "thin-skinned," "a pussy," "a queer," "have woman like hormones [sic]" among other options.
Today's Douchebag Decree goes to (drum-roll please)... Sepp Blatter! The FIFA President has earned this distinction thanks to his cavalier and massively insulting response to the serious question of gay football fans' safety at the 2022 World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup final is this Sunday! Soccer/football and music have a long and wonderful history—championships have official songs and teams have unofficial anthems and chants, from the obvious (Queen's "We Are the Champions") to the unexpected (Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone"). Most of the songs here are about European teams, because I tried to choose ones that got far in the World Cup this year, but you can find more at this database or this plainly and accurately titled blog. If you're looking for some good old-fashioned male objectification, the ladies at Kickette can help you out there. Throw on your kits and prepare for inappropriate nationalism!
Ben Roethlisberger. He's a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers! He's the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history! He's one of the NFL's highest-paid players, with a $102 million dollar five-year contract! He's a rapist! And he's not just an All-Star on the field, folks, he's also our second Douchebag Decree All-Star! (Applause.)
Roethlisberger, right, with a fan in Milledgeville, Georgia. Someone please submit this photo to this blog.
When it comes to women and sports, we've got a long way to go before we reach the promised land of gender equity. Still, when you consider that Title IX just passed in 1972 and that we've got some seriously kickass women athletes to look up to in the wide world of sports today, well, it could be worse. So how are we doing when it comes to women, sports, and advertising? Well, let's start on a high note:
On May 1, a pair of tennis-playing girls—sisters Karli and Tonya Timko—won the won the boys AA Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League doubles title.
Let me take that back: They didn't just win. They freakin' dominated. As singles players on the boys team, they rolled over their opponents all year, dropping only two sets between the two of them. When the season came to a close and titles were on the line, the sisters teamed up as double partners again and hammered their finals opponents, Tin Chu and Drew Gallatin of Thomas Jefferson High, by a total of 6-2, 6-1.
According to their own statements in the press, the sisters, who play for Chartiers-Houston high, have been playing on the boys' tennis team because there haven't been enough girls to field a girls' squad. That dismal state of affairs is a worthy enough topic for conversation, but let's save that for another time. What I want to take a look at is the media coverage of the sisters' victory.