It’s a unique feeling to have when you come across something on the internet that so disgusts you that your body reacts unprovoked, viscerally you adjust yourself in such a way so you could regain, or first gain, some understanding as to what has wrought this element of reality which you now have to deal with.
Maybe you look off the screen, maybe you pause the video, maybe you let out a curse — whatever your reaction, if it didn’t cause you to write something like what you see below then take solace that you’re not as disconnected from humanity or basic civility as too many of us show ourselves to be on a daily basis.
I’m not in a place currently to write a big, thinky piece on online harassment and its roots in our society’s overall misogynistic foundations, though I have it in me. I lack no opinions as I observe the many schisms that seem to pop up on Twitter and elsewhere in social media, schisms built on all kinds of fault lines — sexual, financial, civil, racial, Beyonce-related, on and on… — but here I’ll just deal in facts:
Julie DiCaro of Chicago’s The Score 670 radio station and Sarah Spain of ESPN did something brave and necessary in taking part in this video with JustNotSports where they allowed men to read real comments made to them anonymously via the internet — a series of missives seemingly more repulsive than the next.
Anyone who has followed DiCaro and Spain throughout their careers knows that these two have made a routine of revealing vitriol aimed at them, especially on Twitter. When done there it more often got a real shaking of my head as I scrolled further down my time line, maybe a limp “SMH” typed on a quote retweet.
This video requires more than weak exhibitions of solidarity in shorthand, it deserves your full attention, it demands your discomfort and it should decimate any feelings of safe regard you may have for your favorite social media platform and the major players in it.
DiCaro and Spain made themselves into major players in the Chicago sports media scene through hard work, fearless commentating and in-depth reporting. Still, none of that matters to the likes of the people who spend minutes or hours at a time trying to take them down for some reason. The battle of the sexes is a figure of speech for most of us, but too many meatheads with unlimited data plans feel it is their sole purpose in life to bring high-profile women down for some reason.
Please stop me if you feel I’ve delved past the realm of fact yet, I dare you.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting DiCaro multiple times and hearing both her and Spain in panels, such as the one they’ll be involed in today at the Blogs With Balls conference, which for the second straight year brings many of the most notable online sports media from across the country to Chicago for a one-day gathering (tickets still available). Many have already, but anyone moved by this video should give props to that duo, in person if you can, and especially online cause the creeps still aren’t letting up.
Also, if you’re a girl or woman with ambitions to get into sports journalism or entertainment or if you know such a person make sure to pick yourself up as often as possible, as well as your contemporaries.
As is the case in so many nooks of society where retrograde thinking and played-out norms are exalted to a fault, diversity must be a driving force as we continue reworking our institutions of work and play in a better, more functional structure, structures more in tune with the realities of 21st century America and not those left open to be wounded via the loopholes offered through today’s technology.
People with no real stake in the quality and advancement of sports media have made themselves factors in what we do via disgusting words. Imagine what we who really care about this field can do with more encouragement, more strength and more thoughtfulness directed towards those among us willing to put themselves out there in order to make things go a little easier each time we want to express ourselves.
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio; Follow Kyle Means on Twitter @Wrk_Wrt