- Posted February 2, 2014 by
Super Bowl 2014 Media Day and the rise of female sports writers
According to a recent Facebook status, Maryrose Mullen considers finally snagging a press pass to Media Day for Super Bowl XLVIII a “belated birthday present (her birthday was January 22nd).”
As the digital news editor of New Jersey Monthly magazine in Morristown, New Jersey, Mullen wanted to be at the forefront of media coverage for one of the biggest events to be hosted by the Garden State. “This is likely the only Super Bowl the Northeast will see, so I wanted to take advantage,” she said.
But acquiring a pass to this media frenzy where 2,000+ members of the media ask athletes not who they’re wearing but “who has the smelliest farts,” is a jarring process. After several unreturned phone calls and no clear guidelines for requesting a pass, Mullen eventually sent an email to the man coordinating the Super Bowl, Frank Supovitz, who was interviewed for a story in an issue of her publication. Mullen filled out an application stating her credentials and was eventually told that she could pick up her press pass on the day of the event.
“I waited outside the Media Relations office of [the] Prudential Center in 14-degree weather for half an hour before I was redirected to a room on the opposite end of the building,” she said.
Contemplating a career move into sports journalism, Mullen found the experience of interviewing NFL athletes invaluable. “Since my only experience has been interviewing high school athletes,” she said, “I thought this would be a good learning opportunity.”
Mullen got the chance to quiz NJ-native Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno and other NJ-native players on both team on their Jersey trivia, “which they failed miserably;” interview the Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and get very close to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Despite the fact that roughly 45 percent of the NFL’s viewership is female, Mullen feels that she often has to prove that she’s a fan. “I frequently feel condescended to, whether by people out in the real world who think I’m faking for attention or by the NFL itself, which has only recently started incorporating women in their advertising,” she said. But the message that most of these ads end up sending is that “real ‘girls’ don’t like dirty football!”
Women and sports aren’t a classic combination, but women sports fans do exist, as do women sports journalists. Mullen stated that she’s seen a lot of women in the New York-New Jersey sports writing market and that she actually saw a good number of women journalists at Media day. Interestingly, though, most of these women were in broadcast; men dominated print.
Mullen’s own experience at Media Day is perhaps a sign that women are beginning to be more respected as fans and journalists. Despite the elbowing and large crowd, “everyone was polite and professional,” she said. One writer from Yahoo Sports even “loaned me his phone charger and saved my life.” While women and sports may never be fond bedfellows, many of the more sexist notions that once permeated the field are beginning to fade, making room for a greater female presence.
First picture is Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno at Media Day
Second Picture is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson