I have no words.
Tuesday, we spoke about the horrors of street harassment and how offense it is to women who are just trying to go about their days in a peaceful fashion. Whether it be walking down the street minding her business, or trying to make her career happen, it seems as though us women can never catch a break from the offensive comments of entitled men.
Which brings me to your daily dose of “WHAT IN THE F*CK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.”
On today’s episode of especially horrifying things, ESPN sports analyst and anchor, Cari Champion, was the unfortunate subject of discussion by many. The “First Take” host found herself the subject of
douchebag comedian Artie Lange’s tweetfest while watching her on Tuesday morning’s episode of the popular sports talk show.
The amount of bigotry and sexism displayed here is beyond reprehensible, and using the guise of comedy to cover it was a pathetic attempt at the expense of someone’s innocence. The issue I have with these series of tweets is not just the fact that he felt that it was his place to comment on a woman like that, is the fact that he felt it was appropriate to share via such a public space. The remarks, that he masked as comedy and adoration for Champion, were in fact embarrassing to both individuals. Twitter reacted with overwhelming support, calling for action on Lange’s comments and starting the hashtag, #iSupportCari, as well as co-worker, Jemele Hill tweeting her thoughts on the situation.
Though the issue with sexism is pertinent on social media, my issue resides with ESPN and their lethargic response to the Lange’s comments. Instead of reacting right away to defend Champion and all women, the network stayed curiously mum on the situation; declining to comment on the situation for unspecified reasons. The worldwide leader in sports released a statement hours later in defense of Champion, stating that “[Lange’s] comments were reprehensible and no one should be subjected to such hateful language.” Following backlash, and popular Comedy Central late-night show canceling his appearance, Lange tried to defend his comments with an even more pathetic apology for his actions.
The problem with waiting so long to respond to such nasty remarks is that is sets precedent that this sort of behavior is taken lightly. Here is a network that immediately suspended two of its most popular analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Bill Simmons, for comments that were in retrospect, way less offensive than what was said by Lange and jumped to the defense of all the offended parties. Many have called into question the racial nature of this case, citing that when Michelle Beadle’s claim of bigotry towards Stephen A. Smith following the Ray Rice incident, ESPN defended the host almost immediately. The tweets by Artie Lange were sent Tuesday morning, with ESPN waiting to respond until late Wednesday afternoon. When a woman is disrespected by a frequented guest of your studios, especially in a sexually manor, you defend your employee without hesitation – immediately!
When you’ve inserted yourself into the commentary on women’s rights, as ESPN has, you must identify every case and react accordingly. Shame on you, ESPN, for forgetting about Cari Champion and treating her like an afterthought. If you’re going to be outraged about one situation, be sure to apply the same practices to all of the situations. No one deserves to be bullied and verbally assaulted by anyone and subsequently forgotten by the very people who are supposed to defend her. Do better.