Well I haven't blogged in a week even though we are in prime women's sports time with the NCAA basketball tourney, an amazing women's Frozen Four, the beginning of the LPGA season in the US...so the immediate answer is yes.
But the question was actually inspired by the interview with Brittney Griner by ESPN's Holly Rowe that I watched last night after the Oklahoma/Notre Dame game. And it struck me as I watched her speak so well (granted the Baylor PR people probably have been spending a great deal of time with her) about "the incident" that is still practically a child. Granted she's a 6'8" child who is now one of the most-watched and discussed female basketball players in the country. I know she's a legal adult and one who is responsible for her actions. And she has certainly taken responsibility for them--good and bad.
But as someone who is known for a certain acerbic cynicism often directed at athletes, and coaches, and administrators, I paused when I heard Griner's interview. While I myself have never written anything bad about Griner, all this publicity post punch has made me wonder just what kind of responsibility writers, commentators, and bloggers have when discussing college student-athletes. Big-time college sports are all too easily equated with professional sports because of the money involved. And though the athletes are not being paid salaries, they are very much public figures. But too often the media--and by extension public--treatment of them, especially when they do something bad, does not take their amateur status into account. Look at the media eruption last fall when soccer player Elizabeth Lambert was caught on tape engaging in some not-so-nice tactics against BYU players.
Thankfully the Griner situation did not devolve in the same way, largely because Griner was not sexualized in the same way as Lambert was (and we could and probably should talk about why this was--but not now). And Griner's performance in the tournament thus far has gone a long way in mitigating the punch she threw. But things could have gone differently. Again, big-time sports equals big-time media coverage and too many people are not remembering that these athletes are college students. And college students do a lot of stupid things. And yes, they should be held responsible for their actions. But they shouldn't be dragged across the coals by indifferent media folk--bloggers included. So this post serves mostly as a reminder to my own blogging self. Others can take it as they please.
And since Griner was the impetus for this post, here's a great column on her by Dave Zirin. And since I gave Zirin a hard time last year for his gender faux pas in calling UConn the Lady Huskies, I will give him props this year for noting (unquestioned) gendered language in the term freshman. Indeed Griner is not a man though you wouldn't know it by listening to all the commentators talking about players "defending their man" and such. Maybe Zirin will address that in his next column!