Readers defend women's hoops
From the Page 2 mailbag

I am extremely offended by Stacey Pressman's "article" on the WNBA. It was derisive, derogatory and deliberately misrepresented the WNBA experience. I attended the Monarchs sell-out opening night at the ARCO arena (as most WNBA teams play in the same venue as their male counterparts) and enjoyed a thrilling game along with an enthusiastic crowd comprised of families and professionals. If the rest of the crowd is like me ... they consider the WNBA the most exciting pro league in today's sports.

If Ms. Pressman had simply expressed a preference for men's basketball that would have been one thing, but her snide and mean-spirited remarks about the audience and the venue makes you wonder if she is just trying the impress the boys by denigrating the athletic endeavors of women.

The WNBA is here to stay, and is bringing a whole new audience to the arenas and to channels like ESPN!
Leah Scheibe
Alameda, Calif.


I am very disappointed in the Stacey Pressman's Page 2 story about the WNBA. Maybe she was having a bad day, maybe it was hormonal problems, maybe because she lost $75 ? whatever the case, I can't believe how she trashed the WNBA and moreseo, the players. I am a true basketball fan (women's hoops included, of course). I am not a brownie, a girl scout, a lesbian, or a gambler. I am a professional male who truly loves women's basketball. The women make mere pennies compared to the men, and play much harder, and with much more heart and soul.

They don't take two months off from season for a stubbed toe. They play with concussions, sprains, splints, healing ACLs and achilles -- and play their hearts out.

This story is not even close to the true experience of a game -- maybe if she hadn't slept through it!

I can't believe that a sports icon lets someone write trash like this. Thank you for your time.
Kevin Arlund
Houston, Texas


I'm writing in regard to Stacey Pressman's Monday column on "Will Not Be Accepted." Several message boards have gone bananas on the topic, so it probably got viewed a lot, and one person says now you will be publishing a counterpoint, which is good. I hope you do it loud so the big chunk of men readers who beat their chests and roared, "Right on!" at Ms. Pressman's sulky report) might possibly give it a read.

For the record, I wouldn't let my pre-teen children get away with the attitude she put forth. For what it's worth; when they try something new, they always have to give it an honest chance.

I hope your have already heard from thousands of us fans about this nonsense. (I guess in addition to failing her comportment classes, Ms. Pressman must have fallen asleep in elementary math during the estimating lesson ... "three" is not a very good approximation of all of us).

Besides the attitude, I also don't appreciate that now when I say I am a fan of the WNBA, I may have to defend whether I REALLY enjoy this game, or am just pretending. Ms. Pressman manages to paint all of us with her mammoth and unsavory brush, saying that her rant is really what everyone else is thinking anyway. Wrongo, babe. Many of us who appreciate the women's non-dunking, actually-defense-having game really in fact do believe in our own opinions, and are not pleased to be told we don't know our own minds.

Many of us also note that she objects to emasculating men, but expects women to masculinize themselves to play like the men.

Ms. Pressman published a similar column elsewhere, but evidently had to change SOME content in order to publish on ESPN's site. So, you must have had out the red pen ? I'm certain little Sue Bird never sat around dreaming of one day being a contraceptive device. The horse-whiz and goose turds image was also particularly compelling. I assume you do have some editorial control over there. I've edited my own response to make it appropriate for mixed company.

Anyway, a bunch of us have been sending out real, stamped, snail-mailed thank-you notes to WNBA sponsors (Proctor and Gamble; Reebok; Budweiser...). One of them SHOULD be coming from me to you right about now, since at least The Deuce does cover games. But you slam the WNBA twice in two days?! (Friday's Sports Guy tossed in a throwaway comment). I guess you should consider this your anti-thank you note.

I will watch for the counter-point. I hope it's worth my time.
Lara N
Eugene Ore


While I respect Stacey Pressman's first amendment right to state her opinion on the WMBA, I wish that ESPN had chosen not to print it. Not only was her article insulting and condescending, but it reflected a harmful societal bias that unfortunately is still held by too many.

Women's sports do not have to look like men's sports in order to be of interest to spectators. To deny the possibility that excitement can be found in a new, female take on a sport, is to deny the value of the female interpretation. It's unfortunate that Ms. Pressman opts to judge basketball based on the "male" way of playing the game, I only hope that others won't feel that this reinforces their beliefs that a "female" way of doing other things is inferior as well.
Sonja Jacobsen
Seattle, Wash


Why does everyone hate the WNBA so much? What about the LPGA? It's even more unwatchable then men's golf. How about the female Olympians? Do they really deserve medals for their inferior sprint times and bunny slope slaloms?

My point is that you can't compare women's sports to men's sports. If you go to watch a WNBA game you should expect to see some great competition between female athletes. If you want to complain about crappy sports on television, I have a few suggestions ? golf, regular season baseball, racing (et. al cars, horses, or humans).
Mike
Sacramento, Calif.


I just couldn't believe what I just read. I simply had to respond!

Sports is about entertainment? What about sportsmanship. The celebration of athleticism, talent, ability, drive, love of the game, and heart. Something you will find at every level of women's basketball. Sue Bird and Chamique Holdsclaw DO play better in the WNBA then they did at the collegiate level. Pardon me if you don't find that 'entertainment.'

SPORTS should not be about tattoos, game ejections, technical fouls, firings, suspensions, arrests, or dry outs. It's about the depth and quality of the game. I prefer my daughters take their role models from the WNBA than the dunking NBA any day.

Shame on you for telling little girls all over the country that if they want to be professional sportswomen they should stick to 'entertaining' sports such as "tennis, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, and figure skating."

Shame on you for implying the WNBA relies on gimmicky draws - I'm sure that the "Mavs ManiAACs" are nothing of the sort. That, my dear, is at the pure professionalism of your entertaining NBA.

And please, may I remind you that the WNBA has only been around for 7 years, the NBA -- over 50. If you want to see some awesome physical feats by female athletes, stick around.

I'm thankful that most of 'us' don't have the close-minded idea of entertainment you do. You may feel that women's basketball is not entertaining - but don't apply it locally, nationally or globally. You live in a very small minority.

WNBA fans plan on keeping it that way.
Chris Nichols
Stillwater, Okla.


Stacey Pressman is just repeating the same criticism of women's hoops and the WNBA that's been made by a thousand other people -- Jim Rome, Dan Patrick, etc etc. She agrees with the sly, cocky consensus of the sports talk show circuit. The fact that she's a woman doesn't somehow make her column courageous. She criticizes gender politics, but when she takes some heat herself, she turns around and uses the same gender-based arguments. Give me a break.

Moreover, her evaluations come after ONE game. And her comments about lesbians were completely inappropriate. When women are subjected to discrimination, she should know that she is partly responsible for it ... and as a woman and a human being she should be held accountable.

Stacey doesn't like the WNBA. Fine. Until she can write something intelligent, she should keep her damn opinions to herself ... or at least find some evidence to back them up (amazing how her article is completely lacking in foundation based on the evidence of one game ... and her opinion of that game which differed from the 9,300 other people there).

I guess journalism degrees can be bought overseas these days...

And tell Stacey to get her facts correct ... such as the length of a WNBA game. Maybe if she understood the game a little more, she might like it a little more. I don't understand boxing, so I don't like it. I don't understand opera, and I don't like it either.

And if she could organize her thoughts ? or is that too much to ask? She and Debbie Schlussel deserve each other.
Barry
Columbus, Ohio


Gee Stacey, I wonder why the WNBA wont be accepted, could it be because of people like you?

In your article you say "I had absolutely no idea where I was going". I think that was a little hint to the readers of what was to come in the article. You should have turned around at that point, and taken your lipstick and popcorn over to the NBA playoffs to watch your million dollar contracts play ball.

In the article you say you arrived at your destination and said "I always thought the WNBA had all of three fans -- and that they were screwed into the ceiling." Right here, you already made up your mind made up ? before you even found your way to the gym (good girl). Why did you even bother staying for the game?

And in your article you say that "You have the utmost respect for women's basketball players". Sure you do. If that were the case, you wouldn't be writing such crap. Tell me Stacey, where do you want all these young girls to go when they are older. I see many little girls at the games, they have their jerseys on, their faces painted, and are eager to get autographs from their role models. I myself am 32 years, and still marvel at meeting the respectable WNBA players. They are very friendly, very approachable and genuinely enjoy talking to the kids. So I ask again Stacey, who do you want these little girls to look up to when the WNBA is taken away? Do you want them to put on their little shorts and tube-tops on and dance at halftime at the NBA games? That is the message that you are conveying.

You also say in your article " if this game was indeed about the basketball, why do we care about Sue Bird or Chamique Holdsclaw when they're in college and forget about them the minute they turn pro?" What are you talking about? You saw one game and now you think you are an expert.

I had never heard of you before this article, so I thought I would read another you wrote before responding. In your article "What men really want" you say, "Female sports journalists start with their credibility cheapened solely for biological reasons. I realize and accept that." You also say "and unlike my male counterparts, I can't afford mistakes". Pandering to male counterparts is no way to enhance your credibility. If you must write, please stop your hapless bashing. You are an embarrassment to women's athletics.

Sincerely,
Dawn Peterson
Minneapolis, Minn.
Huge WNBA fan, even bigger Minn Lynx fan


I found the article by Stacey Pressman totally offensive to women and sports today. She had the audacity to imply that the WNBA and women's basketball was inferior and shouldn't be played.

I figure if she has ever been to a basketball game, it was only to pick up men. If she were anyone of intelligence she would realize that women's basketball is worthwhile because it is still played for the love of the game -- not for big bucks, not for 27 illegitimate kids, not so they can buy more things, or do more drugs. They don't get arrested after games for drunk driving, or for cocaine party favors. They don't they don't disrespect their peers or coaches, they don't whine and complain over an ingrown toenail - they simply love to play the game.

She stated that she went to one game and was bored to tears. Well, maybe she should be reporting on garden parties, then.

She is totally off the mark, and has highly insulted people of today. She should be made to retract her statement, apologize to all of the fine folks who have put and kept the WNBA together, and especially personally apologize to all of the players who are well trained, play with families, and champion causes for today's progress.

ESPN should be embarrassed that she writes for your organization. She cannot make this assumption on the basis of one game.

I hope you will consider these comments and I hope you get a million more. It is time that the press has respect for women in sports, and realizes that the WNBA has a huge and loyal following. We are women, men, children and families who like honest and hard working teams. We love the spirit of the women in the WNBA, we cried when Kim Perot announced her cancer, we applauded when Cynthia Cooper retired, and we cheered even louder when she returned at 40 because she loves the game.

I challenge Stacey to come use my ticket to watch a Comets game, and make a fair and unbiased opinion then.
Carolee Arlund
Houston,Texas


Ms. Pressman, I find it amazing that you feel the way that you do about women's basketball, much less that you chose to write about it. I find your viewpoint to be that of someone who never played a competitive sport. I'm obviously making an assumption but the article wreaks of ignorance.

I have played the basketball since childhood and am a true fan of the men's and women's game. Your article insinuates that because women can't dunk or run as fast or jump as high as the men, the game is not exciting. Based on your narrow viewpoint, I suppose that you don't derive any excitement from a well played Little League game or a 2 point O.T. win for a girls CYO team.

Just how many WNBA games have you been to? These are the finest female basketball players in the world. It speaks volumes that the tone of your entire article -- right from the get-go -- is cynicism. You call yourself a sports journalist yet you load the page with male oriented barbs and ill witted quips. Your cutesy writing is not sports journalism. The only accurate statement in your entire article was the fact that you're "a woman who panders to men."

I was glad to see that more than halfway through your piece you finally decided to grace us with the purpose of the column ? and subsequently missed the boat entirely. You see, the WNBA is not trying to promote their game on an equal footing with the men's game. It is being played in the summer months -- the NBA off-season -- for a reason. It is an alternative for the true basketball fan or sports enthusiast, of which you are quite obviously neither!

Lastly, you are again very off base in deciding that the "larger-than-life moments of amazing physical feats" are what people remember. You're not a fan of the WNBA, nor of true sporting competition. Women's basketball is not what's inferior here. It's only a shame that ESPN gives you a platform for your inferiority.
Kathy Shearer
Bloomfield, New Jersey





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Pressman: The WNBA Will Not Be Accepted

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