Thursday, July 23, 2009

Erin Andrews nude video is a sick crime when will men grow up ESPN's Erin Andrews is the victim of video pervert

Erin Andrews nude video is a sick crime when will men grow up ESPN's Erin Andrews is the victim of video pervert.

As bad as I am at making predictions, I'd bet my career on one bit of soothsaying.

No one will ever peep into my hotel room and videotape me naked.

It just won't happen. If you're waiting for that shocker, go ahead and invite Sasquatch to your next dinner party, too.

I'm not Internet-ogling material. Too husky. Too male. Too fortunate.

Which brings me to ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who's been victimized by a cowardly pervert. Someone actually peeped into her hotel room, taped her in the nude and put the recording on the Internet. It's a sad and sick incident that has the sports world abuzz, especially the blogosphere, and ultimately, a bunch of dudes dominate the chatter by feigning outrage or making light of an embarrassing situation that men can't possibly understand.

So instead of offering flimsy perspective, I went to KING 5 sports reporter Lisa Gangel and asked for her take. In some ways, Gangel is like Andrews: blonde, female and hoping to be respected rather than gawked. Seeing a colleague suffer struck Gangel on a personal level.

"It deflated me," Gangel said. "You never know what can happen, and in our profession, being so visible, you never know who's watching you. I'm very critical of women in sports because I'm very critical of myself. I'm always looking at them and wondering how I can improve to get to their level, or what I can do better than they do.

"I've always thought that, despite Erin Andrews' smokin' hot looks, she's very good at what she does. You only hope that people recognize your work first. It hurts to know what she's going through."

The Andrews incident has largely been labeled an Internet scandal (blame it on the blogs, huh?), but really, it's a sports culture scandal. It's about men being men at their worst. It's about the false notion that it's OK to be intolerable and horny and barbaric because it's all part of the guy sports experience. It's our right, right?

I'm not preaching, either. At times, I've been guilty of objectifying women, too. Most men are subtle about it, but this extreme case should make us understand the impact of our ridiculous ways.

When she's covering games, Gangel says it's common for her to hear men yelling, "Lisa Gangel, you're hot!"

Some scream marriage proposals. She laughs it off and tries not to ponder how she's viewed.


"It's flattering," Gangel said. "But it's always more enjoyable when people say they like my work. I smile, I wave, I say hi. It's no big deal. I guess it's better than people yelling 'You're ugly!' at me, right?"

Gangel doesn't consider herself a sex symbol; she's always thought of herself as a tomboy. She grew up in an athletic family. She played college basketball.

"I look at myself as one of the guys," she said. "I don't think of myself any differently. But I've learned to be a little bit less open. It's a hard balance. I know some people are looking at me and talking about whether I'm successful because of looks, so I try to turn it into a positive challenge. I have to do more research and be better prepared. I have to prove I'm there for my work and my talent and nothing else."

On the other hand, she knows she can't convince everyone. Over the past year, she's been the subject of gossip because of her relationship with Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney. The couple is engaged.

Some will look at it as another athlete/female sports reporter relationship and consider it typical. Even Gangel admits that, on the surface, it seems like a "cliché." Journalists will debate the media ethics of it all. The romance isn't ideal, but love rarely is. I'm not here to judge, especially since Gangel and Kerney are among the best and most likable people on the Seattle sports scene.

"I'm proud that I'm marrying the man of my dreams," Gangel said. "I don't have enough time to clutter my workday with thinking about what people say about me. I never Google myself. I never listen to morning sports radio anymore. I know what I'm here for. It's not to look pretty on TV. It's to deliver the news."

For women, simply delivering sports news keeps getting trickier. I don't envy any of them, from Gangel to the local FSN trio of Angie Mentink, Nicole Zaloumis and Jen Mueller. It's not easy reporting for a crowd full of boys.

Maybe one day, we'll grow up. Yeah, the day that Sasquatch compliments us on our beef burgundy.

No comments: