Tuesday, September 04, 2007

High school girl plays football

Holley Mangold, an Ohio high school senior, made an appearance on the TODAY show this morning, interviewed by Meredith Vieira. There are other girls who have played high school football--I think there's even a based-on-true-events movie that plays on Lifetime from time to time about a female quarterback played by Helen Hunt. So I am not sure exactly why Mangold is getting national attention. Perhaps because, unlike kicker Katie Hnida who also received a hefty amount of publicity when she was in high school, Mangold is a linebacker. (Also her brother is a center for the New York Jets.) And it should be noted that Mangold has been receiving attention for a while in the national media like the Times.
This marks the start of her senior year and she has received from interest from colleges. She still has not earned a starting position on the team and she was quite honest this morning about her lack of speed.
I was disappointed though in Mangold's response to Vieira's inquiry about the potential discrimination or even danger Mangold could face playing in college, a la Hnida who was raped and faced sexual harassment. Mangold brushed it off by alluding to the fact that women have to know how not to put themselves in certain situations. First of all unless you choose to remove yourself from the world entirely by never leaving your residence, then you cannot protect yourself from experiencing sexual harassment, even if you do fight it. And suggesting that Hnida put herself in a compromising position is more blame-the victim rhetoric.
Mangold said she knows boys, has grown up around them, and knows how to avoid getting into such situations. I am not sure if it is high school naivete or a bravado gained from playing football, but I hope that she doesn't have to learn--the way Hnida learned--that just because you know boys can do bad things doesn't mean you cannot fall victim to them.

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