The NFL is currently experiencing some ugliness involving players’ treatment of a female reporter and people saying all kinds of dumb and offensive things about women in the locker room. It’s maddening to me that this kind of crap still happens, but it does — and has been for years — because as much as we’d like to think otherwise, the human race is still nothing but a bunch of grubby apes with occasionally better grooming.
But things are better than they used to be. To see that, just read this great story from FanHouse’s Pat McManamon about Doris O’Donnell Drew, who was sent to cover an Indians’ east coast road trip back in 1957. The level of hostility she received was crazy: she was kicked out of press boxes and was told by the Indians’ manager that she should “go home and make babies.” And she was just doing feature stories, not trying to go into the clubhouse right after the game or anything. Just nuts.
As McManamon notes, O’Donnell’s most memorable encounter was with Ted Williams who — while nothing short of horribly rude to her — actually gave her an interview (he later apologized for his behavior). Even at its best, however, the sports world was incredibly hostile. O’Donnell went on to cover more important things such as the civil rights movement and the political turmoil of the 1960s. There she received a better greeting.
McManamon’s piece is great stuff, which I highly recommend. And keep it bookmarked for the next time some idiot athletes decide to, once again, show the world that the human race is really a bunch of grubby apes.