Women in sports are drastically underrepresented

How many 4-year-old kids could name the starting lineup for the 1997 to 1998 Chicago Bulls team? To this day, I still clearly remember jumping on our beaten down grey couch out of excitement when the Bulls won the championship that season. If my older brother turned on Sportscenter while I played with my Barbie dolls, I would throw them to the side and have my eyes glued to the television.

Growing up in a household with sports as the main dinner table topic, it only made sense that I would eventually write about the subject. Now, I’m a 20-year-old journalism student that is the only woman in the sports section of the school newspaper. I’m accustomed to being the only female in sports discussions and competing with male perspectives to prove my knowledge about sports.

I think it’s time the sports world acknowledges women athletes and sports reporters with the same recognition that is given to men.

SF State is not known for its sports accomplishments. Even with the gym remodeled and the Gator logo redesigned this semester, most individuals still do not care or know about the teams on campus.

That’s fine, not everyone likes or understands sports, but one thing I do appreciate about the sports atmosphere on campus is the acknowledgement of women as student athletes. It shows a positive side to the mistreatment and sometimes nonexistent acknowledgment of women found in the professional sports world.

Reports recently surfaced of the unfair treatment and pay of the Oakland Raiders’ current and past cheerleaders. At the end of each season, the Raiderettes were only paid $1,250, which did not include traveling expenses or time spent at mandatory events and rehearsals. If they were above the required weight, they were fined and benched until they lost weight.

The Raiderettes are not the only cheerleaders in the NFL to go through this. There are still pending lawsuits that involve cheerleaders for the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets.

One of the simplest ways professional women sports can be recognized more is by increasing the coverage. NBA games are aired daily throughout the season on TNT, ABC and ESPN, but WNBA games rarely appear. If networks aired at least two WNBA games every week during the season, it would increase recognition of women who are scoring and dunking just like male athletes.

Maybe down the road saying “you play like a girl” will be a compliment instead of a childish insult and women reporting on the sidelines of football games will be respected for their reporting instead of known for having a pretty face.