Big-time football surely exacts a high toll on an athlete’s brain, and if anybody doubts that, all he need do is listen to what David Pollack, a former standout athlete at the University of Georgia, said last Saturday afternoon on College Gameday.
“Now I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth, probably,” Pollack began his dance with stupidity. He got no better from there.
No matter that Rice is as tapped into football as most men. No matter that Rice is brilliant, a Black woman who was smart enough to guide this country’s foreign policy as Secretary of State in the Bush Administration. No matter that Rice is fluent in Russian and has academic credentials that stretch to the heavens.
None of that meant anything to Pollack. In his mind, the fact that Rice didn’t have the right chromosomes disqualified her from such a noble duty.
Americans should be weary now of listening to men like Pollack question what women can and can’t do. We know, for example, that women can and do lead major corporations and universities; we know that women serve in combat roles in some of the scariest, most dangerous places on the planet; and we certainly know that they are smarter than men.
Yet, despite this evidence, most men are as stupid about women as Pollack. For we continue to look at women as inferior – as knockoffs of what we are. While we understand we can’t live without women, we persist in denying them the right to stand next to or above us.
Look, America had a time when it did judge women as lesser people, but that time has passed. America is not some country trapped in the 1800s, a period when women’s roles were rigid: bear children and tend to the home.
But push this history aside for a second, because the bigger issue with Pollack’s comments, with former Auburn coach Pat Dye’s comments and with anybody else’s comments that mirror Pollack’s is the misguided notion that you have to have played football to understand it.
In sports journalism, not a single sportswriter that I can think of – and after more than three decades in the trade, I can think of a lot of sportswriters – has played a sport as a professional. Now and then, I’ve run into a man who has played college basketball somewhere or even college football at a small school.
The rest of them are like me – men (and an increasing number of women) trained in daily journalism who studied football and talked to football coaches, scouts and players to pick up deeper insights into the game. More than a few of us know as much about a particular sport as men who play it.
We also know women in this sports journalism biz who know more about the sport than we do.
Still, Fred Flintstone-like thinking continues in sports, and men like David Pollack peddle sexist nonsense that should disqualify them from being on air. He sounds as if he’s taken too many hard blows to the head. They have turned Pollack into a moron who is truly in a reality of his own.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage)