I captured this bit of football commentary tonight during the BCS National title game (Alabama vs. Notre Dame, though it’s not clear if Notre Dame actually showed up for the game):
Brent Musburger (BM): Now, when you’re a quarterback at Alabama, you see that lovely lady there? She does go to Auburn, I will admit that. But she’s also Ms. Alabama and that’s AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, ok?
And right there on the right is Dee Dee Bonner, and that’s AJ’s mom.
Wow, I’m telling you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women.
Kirk Herbstreit (KH): [laughing]
BM: What a beautiful woman. WOW.
KH: AJ’s doing…
KH: …some things right
BM: If you’re a youngster at Alabama, start getting the football out and start throwing it around the backyard with pop.
KH: [getting back to their jobs] Big series for Notre Dame.
Apparently you cannot but help but verbalize your hard on, Brent. That’s gross and you are supposedly a professional.
Your comments were disrespectful to Katherine Webb, to Dee Dee Bonner, to AJ McCarron, to every girl watching who heard you determine a woman’s worth solely on her looks, to every boy watching who learned from you that it’s okay to determine a woman’s worth solely on her looks, to every person who determines their personal worth in a way other than measuring the looks of their partner, and to every person who is watching ESPN to see and hear about football.
Even if Webb or Bonner are okay with what Musburger said, I’m not. I don’t watch football to listen to that kind of garbage.
This is the understood price that women pay when they decide to watch men’s sports — having to watch and listen to another woman be sexualized and drooled over. Gross.
Most decent human beings are still in shock over the Steubenville, Ohio football rape case.The photo above comes from the protests held over the weekend. A little girl simply saying that she is more important than football.
Her sign is not just a call to prosecute any football players who participated in the rape, but a call to stop treating her like a thing. That sign is demanding recognition of her humanity; the humanity of all girls and women.
I want to additionally note that, in one fell swoop, Musburger draws the boundaries around football as a space for straight men whose reward for throwing around a ball with “Pop” (because Ma would get her girl cooties all over it) is beautiful light-skinned women (because the Objectification Cam never lingers on dark-skinned girlfriends and dark-skinned mothers, while commentators sexualize them and talk about them like trophies).
Maya at Feministing (quoting the awesome Travis Waldron):
So, now seems like a good time to point out that this bullshit is part of the rape culture that directly enables assaults like those in Steubenville and Notre Dame. As Travis Waldron writes, “It’s a culture that views women as nothing more than chattel, a commodity to be won by the best player even if she isn’t a willing participant. It fosters a sense of entitlement to women and their bodies that only ingrains the rape and violence culture deeper into the game.”