(Women’s) ESPN Basketball Bracket Shows

15 03 2010

It’s time for March Madness! I love this time of year! I just watched the ESPN selection and the ESPN-U follow up show for the women. Here is the bracket in case you want to download it. I have some cheers and jeers.


  • I was excited the online ESPN bracket didn’t have the qualifying “Women’s” in front ofΒ  NCAA Tournament Bracket 2010.
  • ESPN did a great feature on Baylor’s Brittney Griner, that focused primarily on her SKILLS, numerous ways she can dunk, and how her ability and talent are setting a new standards of excellence for women’s basketball.
  • I loved the fact there were four very qualified women–Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo, Kara Lawson, and Carolyn Peck--hosting the shows, along with Trey Wingo.


  • The .pdf version of the ESPN bracket however, was labeled as the “Women’s”. I will bet my 2010-11 pay cut that when the men’s bracket is complete, there will be no “Men’s” label on any bracket. Why? Because the men’s bracket is the real bracket, and the women’s bracket must be defined and qualified as the lesser bracket by labeling it the “women’s”. This is a common pattern of marginalizing women’s sports documented over time by sport media scholars. Another example is the NBA and WNBA.
  • The presence of the female sport commentators was undermined both at the very beginning and end of the ESPN-U show by the following comments:

a. At the opening of the follow-up show on ESPN U, after Trey Wingo (seated in the middle, with 2 women on each side) introduced each of his four co-hosts, Carolyn Peck made a comment that the ensemble was like Charlie’s Angels. To that end Wingo asked if that made him “Charlie”, and the banter went on for another 20 seconds with the women confirming that his wan indeed Charlie and they were the Angels.

b. At the end of the follow-up show on ESPN U, as Trey Wingo was signing off and repeated all the names of his female co-hosts, his very last comment was “Look at Doris’ shoes, she went shopping!” and then the camera cut out.

Why is this problematic? Because both comments undermine the credibility of highly qualified and experienced female sport media journalists by focusing on highly feminine roles and symbols of femininity.Β  Given these four women are clear statistical minorities in their field, they are under a constant barrage of scrutiny their male colleagues do not have to endure. They also have to look feminine enough so they do not feed the flame of enduring homophobia in women’s basketball.

Stay tuned for more March Madness!



5 responses

16 03 2010

There were also the comments about how Wingo almost wore those shoes Doris Burke had on. Apparently the shoes played a major role in keeping the banter going. Hannah Storm is rolling her eyes somewhere.
Also this morning when I was watching Sports Center (for my daily dose of masochism) to see what they might say about the women’s selection show, the dude (I don’t bother to learn their names and they all look alike to me) said “and now to WOMEN’s basketball.” The emphasis was very obvious as if to say, “in case you forgot, like I frequently do, that the women are also going to have a tournament this year.”
Thanks for blogging about this so I don’t have to πŸ™‚ It raises my blood pressure.

16 03 2010

Happy to help! πŸ™‚ -nml

17 03 2010

I also found it fascinating that ESPN repeatedly posted the “credentials” of Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck. Although I did not see the credentials of the commentators during the selection show of the men’s bracket, I would have given ESPN the go-ahead to show the credentials once. But they showed the credentials THROUGHOUT the selection show. More evidence of women having to ‘prove’ they are able to talk about sports.

18 03 2010

Jen-Good point!! You’re completely right. If you see anymore nonsense, but sure to let me know. I plan to keep posting about this topic. -nml

23 03 2010
Compression Tights

Thanks for a great post. This site is a great information source. Well worth a visit. Cheers

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