Drawing a line

ESPN anchor says she is no longer watching NFL football because the sport marginalizes women

ESPN anchor and 'Get Up' host Michelle Beadle. (YouTube / ESPN)

The anchor of an ESPN morning show said this week on the air that she won’t be watching any NFL football this season — the second year in a row she’s put a moratorium on watching the pro sport. Michelle Beadle, who co-hosts the daily show Get Up, said she’s also not going to watch any college football this year either.

Beadle said the self-imposed blackout is in response to Ohio State University’s controversial three-game suspension for its longtime head coach Urban Meyer over the way he handled domestic abuse charges made against one his assistant coaches, Zach Smith. Documents showed Meyer knew about the allegations against Smith after he’d given him a second chance to stay with the team, and failed to act. “He lied,” Beadle said of Meyer on Thursday’s show. “He didn’t misrepresent the facts. He wasn’t less than accurate. You lied and you can just call it lying. Why we’ve decided as media and a society to just kind of walk around that so very softly — you’re a liar. You lied. Period. Done.”

Though Beadle was discussing the circumstances of a controversy that has put a stain on NCAA football, she said the Meyer episode is indicative of a larger problem for the sport as a whole — including at the professional level. “There’s a reason why this will be the second season I don’t watch NFL and I don’t spend my Saturdays watching college football either,” Beadle continued. “I believe that the sport of football has set itself up to be in a position where it shows itself in the bigger picture to not really care about women — they don’t really care about people of color, but we won’t get into that for [the] NFL either. But as a woman, I feel like a person who has been marginalized. And every single one of these stories that comes out, every single time, pushes me further and further away.”

The NFL, which has been plagued by numerous scandals and controversies, has made efforts to be more inclusive to women both on the field as officials and assistant coaches and at the executive level. But many women, even those like Beadle who are enthusiastic sports fans, clearly still see problems with the sport.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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