Under The Bleachers: Seriously? We’re Still Doing This?

Above: Andi Petrillo, the new host of TSN Radio's Leafs Lunch (Photo courtesy: Bell Media)
Under the Bleachers: Seriously? We’re Still Doing This?

Thursday in Toronto, TSN announced changes to its radio lineup, including the news that Andi Petrillo will become Canada’s first female sports radio host beginning Monday when she takes over the helm of Leafs Lunch, weekdays from noon to 1pm ET.

Shortly after the announcement, several Neanderthals took to social media to voice their displeasure with having a woman leading a radio show about hockey and costing the beloved trio if Bryan Hayes, Jaime McLennan and Jeff O’Neill as their lunchtime listening option on TSN 1050.

Awful Announcing captured a bunch of the backlash and detailed it here. It should also be pointed out that Hayes, McLennen and O’Neill actually got a promotion in all this, as the trio will move to the weekday Drive Time (4pm to 7pm) slot with a show called Overdrive with Hayes, Noodles and The O’Dog, but you know, who needs facts and understanding getting in the way of their outrage?

But really, are we still doing this whole “women shouldn’t be talking about sport!” thing? I mean, it’s 2016 – don’t we have bigger, more pressing issues to be upset about?

There is also the fact that there are tons of amazing female sports personalities out there that actually do a better job than many of their tenured, esteemed male counterparts.

This isn’t saying anything crazy or groundbreaking (I don’t think), but I’d rather listen to Jemele Hill, Sarah Spain, Kate Fagan or any number of females from ESPN give their thoughts on current sports issues than almost anyone else at the moment, not because I’m trying to be progressive and a feminist and whatever else, but because they’re intelligent, insightful and fresh voices with a lot of really strong opinions, plus they often offer a different perspective and that’s kind of what I’m looking for in my media consumption.

We need to stop this nonsense already. We need to quit pretending like there aren’t women out there that are just as good – if not better – at talking about sports than their male counterparts, the same way we need to get over a lot of archaic, tired ideas that some people still cling to these days.

Fagan penned the best sports piece I read last year (and in a long time for that matter) with her story on Madison Holleran, the University of Pennsylvania runner who took her own life in January 2014.

Hill and Michael Smith have been a must-watch, must-listen dynamic duo on television and podcasts for quite some time now and I was fortunate enough to get introduced to Spain’s work long before she landed at ESPN, where she has continued to be the passionate, funny, engaging sports fan I’ve always known her to be.

Doris Burke can do absolutely everything and does it all flawlessly.

Closer to home, TSN anchors Jennifer Hedger and Kate Beirness are the best on the network and it’s not even close, while a former staple at The Score, Renee Paquette, has been smashing it with WWE as Renee Young for quite some time now.

Just as we need to stop with labels like “plus-sized” and constantly spotlighting “only the pretty girls,” we need to do away with this notion that women can’t cover and talk sports as well as men can because these women and countless others can do it infinitely better than the cavemen objecting to them holding a place at the sport-talk table and several of their more established, higher paid colleagues too.

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