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Ashley Judd Is Far From Alone—Most Women Who Talk About Sports on Twitter Face Abuse

March 19, 2015 in Blogs

By Melissa Jacobs, The Guardian

This is the real March, and every other month, Madness!

I write professionally about American football, and I tweet a lot on a variety of football-related topics. So I get that many male National Football League fans who don’t know that I’ve been covering the league for almost a decade might assume that I have no clue what a Cover 3 defensive scheme is. I don’t get being told “my face looks like a football” after tweeting a joke about the Jacksonville Jaguars possibly moving to London, getting called a “cunt” in response to football analysis or receiving the most untempting sexual invitations imaginable.

Being told to “go put on an apron” when opining on a bad pass interference call is actually kind of comical; being told to suck someone’s dick is flat out abuse.

Thus, when actress, activist and Kentucky Wildcats superfan Ashley Judd announced that she is pressing charges after she received a number of misogyny-laced threats following an innocuous tweet about “Arkansas playing dirty” during last Sunday’s SEC Championship, I was cautiously optimistic. The threats were vile, disappointing and cringe-worthy – but as any woman who exists within the megasphere of sports understands, not surprising.

When it comes to women writing about sports, the harassment is not only there, it comes with a special brand of archaic machismo and frequent and disgusting trolling. While sexism gotten much better for us within the industry, women in sports often still need a very thick skin when it comes to interacting with the public.

And famous women have it much worse than me. In the midst of the Ray Rice scandal, ESPN’s Michelle Beadle criticized colleague Stephen A Smith after his asinine suggestion that women tend to provoke domestic violence. The response she received was so hate-filled and misogynist even by the standards of harassment in sports journalism that Beadle’s frightening mentions made news of their own.

If you’re a woman talking about sports on social media, the only way to avoid harassment is to fake your gender. If Kentucky fan “Judd Ashton” – with a bio picture of Wildcat head coach John Calipari – suggested that Arkansas was playing dirty last weekend he might be told he’s a moron or to fuck off, but he would never receive the sexually-charged threats that …read more


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