A controversy has erupted around an ESPN broadcaster’s comments, and no one seems to have noticed the comments of Miss Alabama in response to the controversy.
When questioned by Matt Lauer on this morning’s “Today” show, Webb said: “I think the media has been very unfair to him… he said we were beautiful and gorgeous … anyone would be flattered by that.”
And I suppose that if you are walking down the street and some guy cat calls at you, that is just an example of a guy saying you are beautiful and gorgeous too?
Here is what ESPN’s Musburger said that started this all:
“You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman … If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop.”
Does this sound a little High School to you? It does to me. There are cliques, or roles that men and women play, and if you want a hot-piece-of-meat girl, then make sure you are good enough to be a quarterback, boys! Oh, you aren’t good enough to be a quarterback, then I guess you lose and don’t get a pretty one.
The linked story is from a PR related site, and asks if the apology that ESPN provided was really needed. The question presumes that the injury from the comment would be experienced by Miss Hot Babe, but that isn’t really the insensitivity of the comment. Sure, he called her, good looking, and of course any women would like to be called good looking, right?
The real gaffe is about the larger issue of the status quo: Football Quarter Back gets the pretty girl as if that is what matters most. Here is where Musburger offends all women, and diminishes their worth to their looks alone. In that sense, the ESPN apology was appropriate yet not really on mark:
“We always try to capture interesting story lines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
The “interesting storyline” here is a cultural one and where Sports, or at least some in sports maintain the status quo of gender roles that doesn’t reflect the whole of our culture. That his comment raised a bit of a stir is an example of the status quo changing, even if slowly.