Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The NFL is Really the "No Female League"

This can also be found at HuffPost


After a good ol' (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, eating good ol' (Canadian) turkey, and watching good ol" (Canadian and American) football, I paused for a reality check.

I watch a lot of football and I don't really like turkey.

As I sat in-front of my TV in a food induced state of football hypnosis and truly thankful that gluttony was not a punishable crime (at least in the Earthly sense), something flashed across my screen and into my consciousness (as a football fan, and more importantly as a man).

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Odd? I thought so too.

What appeared on my TV was a commercial of Rice describing why football is such an important part of her life.

Yes, (American) football.

For those that follow football in the United States, you would also be intrigued by Rice -- in her own words -- describing her passion for the game. Why? There has been some backlash of Rice's appointment on NCAA football's new playoff committee. Why?

Because supposedly as a women, she never played the game and subsequently doesn't "understand" football.

Then I started to put some pieces together.

Where are all the women in the NFL?

Where are all the women in (mainstream) professional sports?

No, I'm not saying where are all the 6'6, 330-pound women starting on the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys. Or with a mullet and toothless grin skating through the blue line on a power play for the Maple Leafs.

The NFL -- one of the most popular and profitable leagues in North America -- recently came out with figures that women account for 45 per cent of its fan base.

For every Tom and Matt guzzling beer on a Sunday, there's also a Tina and Megan guzzling beer on a Sunday.

If the NFL is (nearly) equally represented in its fan base, where are the (45 per cent) women on the sidelines (that aren't wearing bras and panties and pompoms)? Where are the (45 per cent) women with the headsets and clipboards and the (4 per cent - yes, 4, not 45) women in thousand dollar suits facilitating million dollar contracts like Kimberly Miale? Where are all the women in the boardrooms? In the press boxes and locker rooms?

Yes, the NFL has a very popular and admirable "A Crucial Catch Pink Campaign" where the "manliest of men" wear pink as part of their uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Despite the issues with where the money is actually going, I commend the NFL for putting a disease in the limelight that affects each and every person (male and female) in some way.

And yes, the NFL actively markets merchandise specifically geared towards women.

But if 45 per cent of women contribute to the NFL's multi-billion dollar war chest, shouldn't we at least see 45 per cent actively involved (on the sidelines at least) on Any Given Sunday?

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