Support For Sports Analyst Jessica Mendoza On Twitter After Radio Host Mike Bell's Sexist Tweets Is Incredibly Heartening
Women still represent only a small percentage of sports reporters, commentators, announcers, and analysts, but apparently for some people there are still too many women in sports media. For instance, radio host Mike Bell who took issue with Jessica Mendoza, a former softball player and two-time Olympic gold medal winner, doing analysis of a Major League Baseball game for ESPN. In fact, Mendoza was the first woman to do analysis of a post-season MLB game, a milestone that many people would consider a good thing. Bell's unfortunate response on Twitter has since been deleted, but because the Internet never forgets, it was captured in all its sexist glory before it was taken down.
"yes [sic] tell us Tits McGhee when you're up there hitting the softball you see a lot of 95 mile an hour cutters," Bell tweeted from his now-deleted account according to Cosmopolitan, managing to imply that women's softball is inferior, reduce an accomplished woman down to a set of breasts, and make a reference to the Will Ferrell film Anchorman, all in under 140 characters. It might be impressive if it weren't so repulsive — just imagine if he used that kind of creativity to do something more constructive.
People on Twitter quickly took issue with these comments, and Bell subsequently spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to defend his remarks and doubling down on the sexism. However, he eventually issued an apology, and his Twitter account has since been deleted.
Bell has also been suspended from his radio station 92.9 in Atlanta where he hosts a sports program.
In a segment for Good Morning America, Jessica Mendoza says that she accepts Bell's apology, though she absolutely thinks that he came after her because she was a woman. However, she also says that she found people's negative response to Bell to be heartening. "Any time there is a change, there's normally a lot of resistance. I think the [thing I was most] excited about was the aftermath and how much support there really was," she said.
She added, "I want to get to a point when we hear a female voice on NBA, NFL, or just anything in men's sports, and it is like, 'Sweet. She's doing a good job.'"
Women are, slowly but surely making strides in the sports world, with women stepping up as coaches, referees, broadcasters, and more, and with women's sports teams slowly gaining ground as well. However, this isn't the first time that men in the existing sports media have had a rather sexist response to the change.
For instance, there was the time Sports Illustrated reporter Andy Benoit tweeted that women's sports aren't worth watching. Or the sexist questions reporters have leveled at NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon. Or the meltdowns that have ensued after things like the NFL appointing a female referee, or a male tennis player hiring a female coach. Not to mention all the ridiculous things people tweet about the WNBA with no provocation at all.
Nevertheless, women continue to excel in the sports world, for all that women are still underrepresented and women's sports still under-appreciated. Because although we still have a ways to go, ultimately the tide is turning, and sexism will not win the day.