As Dan Steinberg noted over at the D.C. Sports Bog, on Wednesday night’s broadcast of the Washington Nationals game, commentator Rob Dibble circled two women sitting behind home plate and stated:
Those ladies right behind there, they haven’t stopped talking the whole game. They have some conversation going on. There must be a sale tomorrow going on here or something….Their husbands are going “man, don’t bring your wife next time.”
And a couple of innings later, moments after Dibble’s partner Bob Carpenter said that he had received from emails complaining, Dibble stated:
I was just thinking, those women, there’s a new series Real Housewives of D.C. that just came out. Maybe they’re filming an episode?
Dibble’s comments don’t need to be explained, but for a well-written reaction from a female sports fan and sportswriter, check out Stacey’s over at Camdenchat.com.
When Dibble made his first comments about the women, the Florida Marlins were up 8-3 on the Nationals. Trappist monks would have been driven to conversation. After all, the game was obviously so exciting that Dibble himself was talking about fans in the crowd.
(Perhaps the women were discussing what a relief it was to be able to watch a Nationals game without having to listen to the boorish commentary of Rob Dibble.)
MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) and the Washington Nationals (which owns MASN in partnership with the Baltimore Orioles) should demand that Dibble immediately apologize for his sexist comments. (They should have done so yesterday.)
During my father’s tenure as athletic director at the University of Kansas, he served as a member of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics. He recognized the deeply-rooted sexism in sports and spent his career trying to put an end to that by emphasizing the importance of character and ethics in sport.
It was a constant struggle. But he saw that sport doesn’t have to reinforce stereotypes. Instead, it can help break them down.
It only takes one Rob Dibble to alienate female sports fans and make us male sports fans look like jackasses. And for that, he owes all sports fans an apology.
Mr. Dibble, please use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and help break down the very stereotypes you pitched on Wednesday night.
Brian Frederick is the Executive Director of Sports Fans Coalition. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication and lives in Washington, D.C. His favorite teams are the Kansas Jayhawks, North Carolina Tar Heels, and whichever team his brother is coaching for. And the underdog. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org