Social Media Ups The Degree Of Difficulty For Women In Sports

People are jerks. At least a lot of people online are jerks. Let me explain.

Earlier this week, I was on a panel of sportswriters at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in New Jersey, put on by the Association for Women in Sports Media. My fellow panelists, all women, had something else in common: We've all wondered if we might be unsafe in the real world because of the profile we have online. We've had gender-based epithets hurled at us in ALL CAPS. We've dealt with people challenging our reporting, based only on the fact that we're women. And that's not even the worst of it.

Many women in and around sports have written about rape threats, death threats and being leeringly accused of sleeping with sources to get scoops. (That last link is courtesy of an Australian outlet, to give you an idea of how pervasive this treatment is.)

Being a woman in this business has always been difficult. Women have been told to develop a thick skin and deal with the implied violence (and, do it quietly) because, free speech and everything.

But social media has upped the ante. Now, having a thick skin means reporting news and links -- or god forbid having an opinion -- via Twitter, only to have your mentions turn into a gender-biased pile of hot, steaming poop on occasion. It happens to men in our business, but my sense is the degree of anger is ratcheted up for women who dare to write about sports.

Thanks to Julie DiCaro for really getting into this topic earlier this year. Women have always been told to develop a thick skin and deal with the implied violence because, free speech and everything. But do it quietly.

And you wonder why women aren't proportionately represented in our business, or why so many women leave after trying it on for size.

Other things on my mind this week:

The amazing Swin Cash, who played basketball for UConn and the New York Liberty, among others, will join MSG Networks as a studio analyst for the New York Knicks. (Will that make the team watchable this year?!) Another crack in the glass ceiling. Cash will be money in that role.

Some Patriots fans who took issue with my discussion of fan loyalty on "Mike & Mike" this week need to read up on the difference between comparison and contrast. I was using Deflategate as an example of the way fan bases normally rally around teams, in contrast to the way bringing in an allegedly violent player like Greg Hardy warps that instinct. But thanks for unironically proving my original point: that fan bases can be pretty reflexive.

Daniel Radcliffe sat down with W to talk fantasy football, including his adorable team name, his fantasy quidditch team and the player with whom he'd most like to be friends. Later, we discussed Frankenstein, why Radcliffe has so many friends who are feminists and his love of 18th century romantic poetry. Those things all have to be related, somehow.

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