Thursday, May 24, 2007


Helene Elliott, the LA Times sports columnist, made a sports prediction during the Western Conference finals: The Ducks would beat the Wings.

Seems reasonable to me. I mean, isn't that what we read sport columns for? To get the writer's opinion on our team, or a hot series taking place, on the playoffs, etc? We might not always agree with what the writer is saying (in fact, I usually vehemently disagree) but its another forum to talk about our respective, beloved sports teams. And its entertainment.

Well, Helene's prediction garnered a vehement response all right, but a sexist, vulgar one as well. Here is just a sampling of the emails she got in response to her "prediction column", and she wrote about the response in today's LA Times:

"If Detroit wins, your gonna be gettiing a [ton] more emails from me you [prostitute]. Why don't you report on your own teams from now on. Like the Kings, where are they? Or the Lakers? Women should stick to writing articles about cooking and homemaking and NOT sports, cuz its obvious you have no idea are talking about, [Don Imus word]."

"You have no idea what your baby ducks are in for! A woman writing about hockey in southern California! Leave the hockey to us sweetheart!"

"You are one cocky writer. I am going to remember that damn story and if the wings win the series, I'm gonna laugh in your face via e-mail. If there's one kind of writer I have no respect for, it's a writer exactly like you who writes worthless … like that.

"I'm surprised your man let you out of the kitchen long enough to write this article. You don't know much about sports, so you should stick to cleaning the house."

"Of course what do women know about hockey anyway. Go back to the kitchen and make me something to eat."
A good friend of mine is a hardcore UCLA Bruins fan, and when a Washington Post columnist neglected to put UCLA in a top rankings list for March Madness, she wrote him a email pointing out his mistake. Never in that email did she feel the need to address anything of a personal nature with him. Why would she? It had nothing to do with his writing.

I'd like to think these types of personal attacks on female writers (especially sports writers) will stop soon, but I just don't know that they will. However, I do think sites like HLOG are leading the way for this dumb, idiotic abuse to end. Women are just as legitimate sports writers as men, and if we go bake a quiche after we are done writing, its because we want to. And we can.

Thanks to Christy for the heads up.


Sherry said...

Those people who wrote those e-mails obviously have not been paying attention to hockey outside of their own little bubble. Helene Elliot is one of the most well respected hockey writers in North America. She's a Hall of Fame writer for goodness' sakes.


McPhizzle said...

I see it all over, no matter where I go, what barn I'm visiting, there is always some asshat fan who says/does something stupid. Making all of us hockey fans look like blood-hungry, foul mouthed a-holes. (Being the redhead I am, I let my temper get the best of me and I'm usually the one that gets 'escorted from the building' at the end of the game for standing up for myself/my team/my gender/rational hockey fans everywhere.) However, if you're a visiting hockey fan, you kind of expect that - along with the other side of the coin - the thousands of 'normal' hockey fans who welcome you and while you may be cheering for opposing teams, you're both there for the same reason - you love the game.

Writing an editorial, a prediction, you know your opinion isn't going to be shared by all, and you'll probably get a few complaints and letters to the editor about it, but GOOD GRIEF. It's hard to believe some people still ascribe to those kinds of mesogenistic mentalities.

I know it's cliché, but, once again, in the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

Finny said...

omfg. those people are such jerks. obviously, they still live in the 1950's. Women, such as ourselves, are incredibly well-informed, highly intelligent, and more than capable of matching a man with wit, charm, humor, and hey, STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS. What idiots.

KMS2 said...

Sherry, you're totally correct. I was going to mention the HOF thing. She is probably the best (and my favorite) sports writers for the LA Times, well, at least when it comes to hockey since that's all I read. The LA Times has some shitty writers, but she's always on the ball about stuff and she's been following hockey for years.

Shmee said...

Its just ridiculous that this is the response for making a playoff prediction...there isnt a doubt in my mind that if a guy had written this, we would've gotten nasty emails but nothing as personally nasty as this.

leanne said...

I rememeber reading something about this right after she'd published her third-round predictions. Elliot (and why was my first inclination to refer to her by her first name? Huh.) must have a thick skin and/or a brilliant sense of humour to deal with stuff like this year after year. Kudos to her.

I find it hard to believe that she hadn't seen abuse like this before, sadly, being a female in a particularly male-dominated and somewhat hidebound field. Even male sportswriters have mentioned things like vague death threats in response to columns they've written.

And while she was kind enough to point out that most of these fans weren't from Detroit-and-area, well... I don't want to be mean, but remember that other thread we had? I know some fantastic people who also happen to be Wings fans, but I'm just saying :)

Not that by any means Detroit fans have a monopoly on this sort of thing...after all, it was outside my old high school in Calgary that they were yelling "Show them off for Kiprusoff!" in 2004. Annnnd I'm pretty sure they weren't talking about pad saves.

Anonymous said...

I got the same type of comments on my blog during the Minnesota and Canucks series. Male fans do not like the fact that some women may know more about the sport than they do.

Ellie said...

such a fragile thing the male ego. good for helene for speaking out anyway. and go us. i still can't get over all the "get back in the kitchen" remarks though.

Jibblescribbits said...

The tradgedy of his life is that he thinks uttering very serious and derogatory comments was going to make an impact on the situation. Especially one as insignificant as a hometown journalist predicting the home team to win.

As a man, I pity this man for thinking the only way he can can try to hide his massive inferiority complex is to show his obvious inferiority, as a hockey fan and human being, with a stream of hatred, sexism and bigotry.

Isleschick said...

Really sad that in 2007 women writing about sports still get disgusting emails like that.

Jordi said...

What's probably sad is the concept of how female writers really have to conform to a sense of sexlessness if they'd ever wish to be taken seriously as a sportsfan. A while ago, there was outrage over a female commenting on a professional male soccer game.

The basis of every argument was "you're a female who is emotional and you have not experienced the pressures of a professional male career". The woman had played professionally before but the whole realm and dominion of the male is always seen inpenetrable for women. Whatever a female does will never match up to what a man does.

It's always sad that something like this happens, and the ignorance which fuels a lot of these people makes them say awful things.

Meg said...

i still can't get over all the "get back in the kitchen" remarks though.

No, it shouldn't be surprising (after all, it's said often enough) but it really is.

This has also made me think how much I wish the Buffalo News had a hockey columnist 1/3 as good as Elliot (and that's being generous to the horribleness that is Bucky Gleason). It's nice to see a woman not only writing in sports and doing it well, but also exposing the neanderthalesque reaction she gets from some.

Bethany said...

I guess I missed this when it was posted. But that just made me sick to my stomach. That's just classless. I don't know what to even say.