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An ugly twitter post about ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza opens the door to a discussion that needs to be had, but instead is swept under the rug. 


 

Her moment in the sun, however, was marred by an ugly twitter post by a local Atlanta sports radio broadcaster.

Mike Bell, from Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game went on a series of ugly tweets, discrediting the expertise and knowledge of Mendoza. Aside from his initial chauvinist tweet, he argued with fans of his own, validating his actions.

Despite deleting the tweet and issuing an apology, Bell continued to subtly defend his words. However, the damage had been done.

92.9 The Game, the Atlanta Falcons flagship station that broadcasts all Falcons games, took action the following day by releasing the following statement.

Afterwards, Mike Bell took to the air himself with a 3 minute pre-recorded apology before his daily Dukes & Bell afternoon radio show. Later, it was revealed that Bell was suspended (speculated two weeks but not confirmed according to station management) from his duties of broadcasting.

There is a hidden narrative in sports. There is a discussion that needs to be had but many refuse to open the doors to it. Sports has remained unscathed as the male dominated field where there’s a “no girls allowed” sign posted to the door.

Mike Bell’s actions, despite his apology are not only reprehensible, but disrespectful to the sport business in general. However, it is an all too well-known attitude towards women in sports.

It’s not just the likes of twitter trolls and social media. The problem spills over into the streets as well.

Chicago sports reporter Julie DiCaro knows the problem all too well.

Not only constantly harassed by online losers with vile comments testing her credibility as a sports journalist because of her sex, but she’s been harassed by people who take their irrational hatred of a woman talking sports offline as well.

After reporting of the alleged sexual assault claims of Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane, there were public threats upon DiCaro’s life from fans on social media. DiCaro was even advised to “carry mace,” after public threats of knowing “where she goes,” in her free time.

When it is just fans in the general public doing it, that’s one thing.  But, when the insults come from PROFESSIONALS in the industry, it’s completely different….or at least it SHOULD be.

The suspension of Mike Bell creates a question dying to be asked.

Why is it a series of sexist comments towards a professional not warrant a firing?

Had Bell’s comments been racist in nature, it would have been almost a sure bet he would not be employed with 92.9 The Game. A suspension seems more like a slap on the wrist to make the situation go away than to attack head on the shear ineptitude of being professional.

Last I checked, Mike Bell is a silver and gold medal olympian in….absolutely nothing. Bell has played and represented this country in the sports of…..nothing. Who is Mike Bell to represent CBS radio and 92.9 The Game in such a manner where you can condone such behavior? As a professional?

So, how do we justify and prove an equal playing field for women in the world of sports journalism if the consequences for unprofessional actions are not equal?

The Atlanta Falcons employ MANY women who work for the team in media, security, training, and many other avenues of the franchise. And, sports journalism is a BUSINESS. Thus, making it a market for women to be attracted to, as well. There is no room for a “be seen but not heard” narrative simply due to the aspect of making money aside from the morality aspect of it.

As a long aspiring sports journalist, and a black male, I find it offensive as well as personal that this type of behavior receives such a lack of outrage. It’s a slippery slope that will soon ensue when we are ok with sexist comments but a zero tolerance when it is racist in nature. Because, at some point, some one, some where, will ask, “Well why’s that a problem?” And, they will point to instances like THIS to validate their argument.

And I feel offended because if the twitter rant was racist in nature, he would be reprimanded with unemployment. That being said, when does the concern of radio station owners and program directors reverting to being ok with offensive RACIAL statements from radio personalities begin? If you will look the other way when it’s sexist, then why not?

People rather blame it on the “PC police” (as did Mike Bell) to refute the art of common sense and fairness of your fellow-man/woman. And, those very same people will say things such as “I would hate to see anyone lose their job over this.”

Why? Why do you want it both ways in sports media? You KNOW better by DOING better. And, this simply was not the case here. It’s not a witch hunt to demand that people remain professional at their jobs. As it is only fair to demand that people pay just consequences and be held accountable for not upholding their duties in an appropriate way.

Instead, there is a leniency showed on something that as many of us young boys even were always told NOT to do, and that’s picking on a girl.

But as grown men, with daughters, sisters, grandmothers, et cetera, the sports media world would rather bury their heads in the sand and point to the “no girls allowed” sign.

To know better is to do better.

 

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Ayron Beavers