Jenna Laine discusses Dan Bernstein and sexism in sports media

Objectification of Women in Sports Media Has to Stop

Late last week, Chicago sports radio host Dan Bernstein of WSCR-AM 670 made some very inappropriate comments on Twitter about CSN anchor/reporter Aiyana Cristal. These comments were to his colleague Matt Spiegel and were sexual in nature, generating quite the uproar. How could a credentialed member of the media publicly make such comments about a reporter?

Sadly, Bernstein is far from the only sports talk radio host to make sexist remarks about women. Sports talk radio shows all around the country are littered with filth, with websites that still feature ‘sports kittens’ and ‘babes of the day.’ This incident sheds light on the fact that despite earning fair access to locker rooms and concerted efforts to eliminate harassment inside them, sometimes the most hostile grounds for female reporters are in press boxes from our male counterparts in the profession.

I joined Rock Riley and TBO’s Ira Kaufman on Bright House Sports Network’s Press Box to sound off about it.

I wanted to elaborate on my comments in regards to hiring practices too. In no way was I condemning the hiring of Cristal or singling out her employer. But plenty of times, whether intentional or unintentional, women are placed in positions by their employers that demean their credibility and diminish their skills.

They’re given ‘fluff pieces’ instead of hard news. There aren’t many that host sports talk radio shows, and God bless Anita Marks and Amy Lawrence for carrying the torch. On TV, there’s increased emphasis on the outfits worn and hairstyles rather than the content of their actual reporting. Sure, a lot of that is on the viewers. Nobody said that the audience has to like Pam Oliver’s hair or Rachel Nichols‘ outfit choice (which is downright sad because they’re both tremendously talented). But did they learn something from what was said?

By allowing female reporters to showcase their unique areas of expertise, to have in-depth interviews and to take on more analyst roles, to become columnists and provide strong opinions and thought-provoking commentary, perhaps we can shift the public’s perception. Perhaps then, they’ll pay less attention to our outfits and our bosoms, and more attention to our words…and they’ll actually mean something.

Sports Talk Florida reporters and radio hosts regularly appear on Bright House Sports Network’s Press Box with Rock Riley, airing Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.