“60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney insists that he is not a sexist.
Unfortunately, that insistence followed Rooney’s opinion of female sportscasters in the National Football League.
In an interview on “The Boomer Esiason Show,” Rooney said: “The only thing that bugs me about television’s coverage is those damn women they have down on the sidelines that don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”
Never one for candor or restraint, Rooney went on to say: “A woman has no business being down there trying to make some comment on a football game.”
It quickly becomes obvious that Rooney has not watched a professional football game in a very long time.
One of “those damn women,” whom Rooney so eloquently describes, is ESPN’s Suzy Kolber.
Arguably the NFL’s best sideline reporter, Kolber combines her infinite football knowledge with thorough preparation, which is why she also hosts ESPN’s “Edge NFL Matchup.”
There is also “Monday Night Football’s” Melissa Stark, who holds her own opposite John Madden (one of the greatest coaches in NFL history), and Leslie Visser of CBS, who is considered a pioneer for women in the business.
FOX’s number one NFL reporter is veteran Pam Oliver, who according to Rooney has no idea what she’s talking about.
Is Oliver’s lack of football savvy the reason she’s held the job for eight years?
Oliver was disappointed by Rooney’s comments and laid down a challenge for the surly commentator: “If he wants to debate the ins and outs of football, I’d be happy to.”
The fact is, these women know what they are talking about. They are smart and capable, and have a passion for the game that rivals that of any male commentator.
As a matter of fact, some of the best sideline reporters in the NFL are women.
So, not only are Rooney’s comments sexist, there are wild generalizations.
Women sportscasters prove each and every week that they can do the job, and they do it with vigor.
Anyone who watches football can see that.
If Rooney does watch the games, he isn’t listening to them.
Anyone who has heard these women doing their jobs would not pass the comments that Rooney has made.
Granted, some female sportscasters and reporters are nothing special. Some may be downright awful.
But so are some of the men.
The handful of below par sportscasters does not allow for Rooney’s massive stereotyping.
For Rooney to sit back and publicly spout off these types of bigoted and sexist remarks is a disgrace.
But we should not expect an apology from Rooney anytime soon.
According to the Journal News Rooney did not seem too concerned about his latest tirade.
“What are they going to do?” he asked.
“Fire me from the Boomer Esiason show? Pay me less money?”
No, Andy; they won’t.
They, like the rest of us, like it much better when you make a fool of yourself.
Tim Wiseley can be reached at email@example.com