Thursday, January 06, 2011
Overheard on CNN.com: ESPN firing and women on sports sidelines

 

Comment of the day: "I work at a day-care center. The other day I called one our clients a 'sweet baby' and she just cooed in my arms. I too should be fired." --Billwsu

 

It's almost the end of bowl season, and there's lots of college football-related news. First, we're continuing to see comments about the ESPN announcer who was fired and sat out the Fiesta Bowl after he was accused of making an insulting comment to a sideline colleague, Jeannine Edwards. Ron Franklin had apologized Monday after making the comment during a production meeting before the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

 

ESPN announcer dismissed over comments

 

This story has started a national conversation on sexual harassment, as well as the role of women in society, and our site was no exception. CrowTRobot said, "You know, it's funny how you guys want women to 'toughen up' and be more like men, but you don't actually want to be married to that kind of women." curleymoe had an interesting response: "We are talking about in the workplace, not about marriage or dating. Women claim that they want to compete on a level playing field and be treated equally, yet often get offended when they are. I do know some pretty tough women when it comes to colleagues and I do respect them. Unfortunately I know many more who aren't, whom I don't respect. By the way, the way women treat each other is pretty interesting to watch. They tend to be very subversive."

 

momomiester wrote, "Many guys feel women broadcasting football is a farce, being that none have played or coached before, rather than it is a 'man's game.' Guys are just sick of it, [feeling that women] are on the field to fulfill some equality guidelines. Many that have played or coached for decades feel women haven't earned it." Wilcox1905 said, "The history of broadcasting in most major North American sports is dominated by people who either 'never played the game' (to quote [Howard] Cosell) or were minor, temporary participants." Yannakitty pleaded, "Please tell me at what point we women have had the opportunity to 'prove ourselves' on the field or off when it comes to this sport. Starting out at a young age there is no girls' football and there generally isn't anything unless it is powder puff football."

 

lostinsauce said, "If these words constitute termination without sexual touching or innuendo or threatening physical behavior we can now expect 98 percent unemployment in the U.S." DrBGood wrote, "It amazes me how many people do not understand workplace harassment. Your job is not your personal playground, and you aren't in high school anymore. You don't get to bully and berate people without consequences." Commenters also debated the potential of a lawsuit. DrBGood said, "By putting his company at risk of lawsuit, he made his own bed. If they did not take action, she could sued the hell out of ESPN. Some people are too stupid and full of themselves to see the big picture." stuart1648 wrote, "I see zero potential for successful lawsuit on discrimination grounds if not fired although anyone can of course file a suit. People do get fired all the time for workplace friction of course."

 

Gibbs to 'TP' White House if Auburn Tigers win championship

 

More bowl season coming right up! Robert Gibbs, the soon-to-be-ex-White House press secretary, has said he will "TP" -- yes, toilet paper -- a portion of the White House if his beloved Auburn Tigers win the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday. "Rolling" Toomer's Corner is a time-honored tradition after a big victory in Auburn. Readers had fun with this one, whether chanting "War Eagle" or quacking for the Oregon Ducks.

 

Margroks said, "TPing is, to be frank, just plain stupid. It wastes paper and by its very nature trashes the environment. This guy is an adult who works for the president? Now that is appalling." In turn, Margroks was called a "party pooper" by jos08. There were other commenters concerned with the environmental impact of this behavior, as well as those who thought this is a harmless ritual. Byrd said, "The Capitol would be a much better choice than the White House for a good rolling, provided, of course, that the paper was appropriately soiled." jim in Alabama tried to convey fans' emotions: "You just have to be at Toomer's to appreciate the excitement just like you have to be in the stadium and see the eagle circle five or six times while 85,000 fans scream WAR EAGLE!"

 

And, of course, there were plenty of folks like CJH and Lorraine, who hoped there would be no risk of TPing the White House at all. Quackygurl wrote, "That's right, let's hope they use [ultra]-absorbent Charmin, because they will be crying a lot of tears. Go Ducks!"

 

Few swayed by fraud finding in autism study

 

We received a lot of feedback over the controversy surrounding a study linking vaccines to autism. A scathing report published Wednesday by the British Medical Journal stated that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the lead author, falsified the medical histories of all 12 patients in his study and that he was "hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers and to create a vaccine scare." A subsequent story detailed why many parents still weren't swayed by the reports. In response, many readers were outraged.

 

sjenner wrote, "Unfortunately, like all so many con-artists, Wakefield has knowingly moved his discredited 'research' into the area of conspiracy theories. And the problem with conspiracy theories is that they're almost impossible to defeat, because no matter the evidence brought against them, the theory either shifts on its liquid base, or simply brands the evidence against it the product of evil and nefarious forces." DadwithKids said, "I see what autism does to parents through my cousin. I never felt it was my place to argue for vaccines, it was something they could target their frustration and anger on. But the truth needs to come out so the resources diverted can be applied to finding answers and treatements." pdavis68 referred to anti-vaccine activist and former model Jenny McCarthy: "Why are people listening to playboy models for health advice? Are you insane? As someone who's actually done some research in healthcare, let me tell you, if adjuvants in vaccines cause autism and there's a conspiracy, HUNDREDS of scientists are on the take and nobody is talking."

 

While the majority of the commenters were against Wakefield and for vaccination, we did hear from some parents who don't vaccinate their kids for various reasons. Redwipper wrote, "Just an additional comment: I too also don't believe in vaccines and do not vaccinate my children. However, it has nothing to do this study or autism." Some debate also took place about the life-saving properties of vaccines, as well as the risks of taking drugs in general. rhondasue said, "Darvon killed my father in 1980. The drug company that produces it just now has been forced to pull it off the market. No, we cannot trust our friends the drug companies." The FDA banned Darvon, a controversial painkiller, in November. colinp responded, "I am sorry to hear of your fathers death, but modern medicine have saved probably a billion or more people. I know that neither my wife nor myself would be alive today without antibiotics."

 

The man who reinvented the keyboard -- twice

 

The profile of the man who invented Swype, and T9 predictive text in the 1990s, got lots of people talking about input technologies for mobiles. Cliff Kushler also does research on disabilities and communication with dolphins. Swype lets users "connect the dots" between letters in a word. Many commenters spoke up and said this makes touchscreen typing much easier. hooperpie hopes it can be used beyond that. "We work with seniors and Alzheimer's sufferers. I think these types of technologies could one day socially reconnect seniors who suffer from this condition and stimulate their memories, stemming progression of the condition."

 

fxdmusic wrote, "I've been using swype for more than six months. You would have to try it to see what it's truly capable of. With a little use and some muscle memory you can swype without looking at your phone. Keys may be obscured but most all of us know the QWERTY keyboard at this point in our lives unless you're one of the Dvorak followers. For some it is faster than the corresponding movements, and for others, not. It depends on which you use more often. I can swype in the high 70s at this point. I watch others peck away with their iPhones and stock Android keyboards as I put my phone into my pocket and get on with my life."

 

But Mortran was among those who said the technology wouldn't help them. "I find it confusing. This T9 feature is the first thing I disable in my cell phone. I don't need a computer doing the thinking for me. I have to type messages in three different languages, so this feature only messes up everything, since it doesn't know in which language I write. Totally useless for me."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

24 Comments
January 6, 2011
Click to view Daddude's profile

Women want to be treated as equals in the workplace. Okay, how many men do you see with eye shadow, lipstick, and dangling earrings? In my opinion, you need to act like an equal before you can be treated as an equal.

January 6, 2011
Click to view Gabor47's profile

The link title from CNN main page is:"Did ESPN go to far?"

My answer is: YES.

But what can we expect in an age when classic books are being censored and changed for non-politically correct content, when the government is contemplating to censor radio, TV, etc.? I was born and raised until age 26 (now 63) in a formerly communist dictatorship (Hungary). Are we heading to that direction? No, we are almost there.

January 6, 2011
Click to view shumaker's profile

Women are equal...We just have to treat them a little more gently. lest they get offended and sue.

January 6, 2011
Click to view coachL's profile

Women treated the same as men. Hey, it just doesn't stop there good buddy. Didn't all of these situations simply assume that these women were all white as well as the men? Well buster when you mix color and race into it then you have an entire different ballgame. I you are a black woman, you get the job ove a white or black male; if you are a white woman, you get the job over a white male; if you are a brown woman then you get the job over the white or black male but not the black woman; are you all following me yet? If you are a black or brown male then you get the job over the white male. We haven't even got to harrassment yet.

January 6, 2011
Click to view pooterqb's profile

It is not about men vs. women or treating people equal. It is about MONEY. EVERYONE these days Black, White, Men, Women, Employed, Unemployed will take advantage of a situation if they feel they have an opportunity to file a lawsuit and make MONEY. So now corporations have to fire someone on the spot for a comment that should not even be a problem just to cover their a$$es. It is sad but the American Dream is "a lawsuit makes you money". Sad but true!

January 6, 2011
Click to view UsedToBeGOP's profile

Yet another example of the double standard most women have.  They demand to be treated the same as men and our nation's laws have been changed to enforce it.  However, when men treat women the same way they treat other men, the women get offended and claim harrassment and the man pays the price.  That's why 99.9% of men don't have any respect for women in sports broadcasting.

January 6, 2011
Click to view HatDag's profile

Unfortunately, female sports casters are just another hollow platform that feminists shove down the world's throat just so they can go to sleep at night knowing that women are demanding entry into EVERY market of opportunity, not just the ones that they are actually capable of doing.

 

I'm sorry, women of the world, but if I went to an ESPN casting call for football announcers and I flashed my resume that didn't have the word football anywhere on it, they would laugh me out of the building. Hows that for equality? Isn't it enough that only your reproductive organs qualified you for your job?

January 6, 2011
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Thanks all; just wanted to address Gabor47's comment. "Did ESPN go too far?" is one angle of the discussion we want to get at and we'd appreciate any thoughts on that. We also welcome your thoughts on gender in sports and the workplace. Just to add some clarity ... hope that helps.

January 6, 2011
Click to view GossamerS's profile

What I find interesting is that all the men here are expecting women to "move up" to a "man's level" or men's values of acceptability in the workplace to be considered equal, not the other way around. How is this addressed in companies that are owned and operated by women or where a woman is the boss?

 

In a  male sports locker room, women should not expect to walk into a raging pool of testosterone and expect to be treated as "one of the guys". But in day to day jobs, like the office, gender does not set expectations, but the quality of work. I have seen just as many men act with the same sense of entitlement as the women you guys are complaining about.

January 6, 2011

I'm getting sick of people playing victim because they don't want their ego bruised or their masculinity or femininity compromised. WIhat would a woman do if I, being a gay guy, said "Listen here sweet thing".......  It's all relative. If you want to be treated equal you need to take things less personally.  She should have fired back with "Listen here little boy". IF adults are like this now then the next generation is going to be a bunch of basket cases.

January 6, 2011
Click to view xxxzodiac's profile

Any woman that would rather sue then have a good stiff one in her in no lady in either in giving or taking.

January 6, 2011
Click to view austinraider's profile

I didn't want to see Ron Franklin fired over this, but I'm sure ESPN fired him so that lawyers don't have as much of a case against ESPN.   ESPN is all about money and terrible bowl coverage.  I miss the real networks airing bowls.  I thought the marching band picture was a bit ironic considering ESPN only covered the Rose Bowl halftime and barely showed Ohio State's band in the Sugar Bowl.

January 6, 2011
Click to view mauiwahanui's profile

We are a world bogged down in trivialty.Women have babies,men cannot. We are not equal. ESPN has lost touch with reality.The announcer's should report the news.It is getting to the point where the reporters are bigger than the news."booya" and his crooked glasses for example.I personally don't care for female football people. What ever happened to "sticks and stones"... People are too sensitive.Someone saya something smart,outsmart them perhaps as Don Rickles would. Real harrasment, ok fire the guy.Anyway that is my opinion for what little it is worth.

 

January 6, 2011
Click to view Vsaxena's profile

"I do know some pretty tough women when it comes to colleagues and I do respect them. Unfortunately I know many more who aren't, whom I don't respect."

 

That irritates me. I like sweet and sensitive women. I myself am a fairly passive individual, so I'd like to have a similarly minded wife. Does that mean he doesn't respect me as well?

January 6, 2011
Click to view NewsJunkie86's profile

I believe we are getting too softy as a society. ESPECIALLY in the broadcasting world, one cannot have a thick skin. The easiest way to "get respect?" Be the absolute best so that they cannot ignore you. And do not make excuses. Mankind has been tested constantly throughout time, and the determined ones who push through to break the barriers are the ones who we know today.

January 6, 2011
Click to view FFThought12's profile

It isn't about race, gender, or equality!  Why are the sideline reporters generally female?  HELLO! They are taking advantage of the fact that the players are men who like looking and talking to women.  So they stock the sidelines with women and the field with excited, focused players and coaches who tend to say things without thinking about the consequences because they are focused on the game!  Not only are they women reporters but they are very attractive women reporters (who is sexist? Media Companies who hire these women?).  In high school and college which group of men are the rowdiest and least respectful of women?  Most people would probably say "the Jocks!"  Well hello media companies you are putting attractive women with men that never had to be respectful of women and now have lots of money and more cockiness and you expect everything to be copacetic? NFL/ESPN before you punish anyone try not allowing women on the field or the locker room (or just require the females to not wear makeup and dress only in sweats) see how many comments will occur then.  Personally I wouldn't hire a woman as a sideline reporter if she couldn't take care of herself and brush it off, honestly what do these women expect.  You want to be like men?  Are you seeking equality?  Then grow a pair and get over it!

January 6, 2011
Click to view ElDono's profile

Remember, the guy didn't just say one thing, he replied with something really offensive.  And, women striving to be like men?  Which men?

January 7, 2011
Click to view Walker1971's profile

Espn did not go too far.  If I called a woman "Sweet Baby" in the most likely derogatory way Ron Franklin did you bet I'd be in HR or walked out the door.  They are protecting themselves from a lawsuit, and who could blame them.

Anyone thinking they went to far should go pull their head out of the behind and the 1950's.

January 7, 2011
Click to view automagic's profile

"You know, it's funny how you guys want women to 'toughen up' and be more like men, but you don't actually want to be married to that kind of women."

 

The correct reply to this should have been, "Those types of women aren't marriage minded anyway."  I dated a girl, she made more money than me, was better educated, and could probably beat me up.  She was awesome.  But she wasn't interested in having kids, ever.  What's the point in marriage if you don't have the same basic goals?

January 7, 2011
Click to view AmericanJack's profile

I'm old fashion, I don't want to see a woman in a men's locker room doing an interview. Say what you will but it should be off limits to all reporters after a quick interview....then let em go wild. Dress appropriate and do a good job is all we can ask of anyone. If someone has crossed the line with their mouth then, like in any other job, HR and then let the chips fall where they may. 

January 7, 2011
Click to view DeerLeg92's profile

This is rediculous, firing someone because of one comment made to another coworker on first offense is simply unjust. Thatr guy had a career he was working for and just because women are more sensitive then men got him fired. I used to throw out insults and harass my boss, but in return he would just throw one back.

 

And I read somewhere up there that this isnt high school, you have to pay for your comments. This is false in my background. You are an adult, you need to learn to take negative comments and stop whining, life isn't fair and you shouldn't be entitled to a lawsuit over words that arent even reletive.

January 7, 2011
Click to view Fro1975's profile

I would have fired both of them for causing a hostile work place right before a big event. 

After listening to what was said, this is what I conclude. 

1.  Edwards apparently started it on by making a comment on a personal conversation which she wasn't a appart of.  At the minimum I would have suspended her for the broadcast.

2.  Franklin's responce was uncalled for and inappropriate for the workplace.  Because of an apparent previous incident, he was in merrit of firing.

As for equal treatment in the work place, I don't think ESPN acted appropriately on Edwards case by letting her continue with the broadcast.  As for Franklin, there is some irony in that after he called Edwards "Sweetcheeks", he then called her an "@-@%le" which could have been viewed as an attempt to cause equal treatment.  Some may say he made a poor effort to do so, even though it was inappropriate.

January 7, 2011
Click to view Arsht's profile

Wow. How about common courtesy in all of this.  We all have a right to stand up and say when someone is treating us in a way we don't like.  Men and women alike should do this.  And, it is not unreasonable to expect colleagues to act professionally and respectfully in response to stating our expectations.  Finally, corporate culture is determined and modeled by the corporation.  If part of that is an expectation of respect in the workplace REGARDLESS OF GENDER, then the corporation can "walk the walk" by punishing those that don't act in accordance to reasonable corporate expectations.

January 7, 2011
Click to view PolitiComm's profile

In the end this is about gender roles in the workplace. They do exist. Women do better at a lot of jobs. Sports is actually an area where I think women add a great dynamic whether they are participating or commenting. I agree completely with Arsht. Men in the corporate sports arena need to learn that work ethic goes beyond hard work for hard work's sake. Work ethic is a set of values enforced through good corporate policy. And men in sports, more than anybody, need to learn the meaning of Acceptance (Check out theAgame.com)

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