If you don’t know what Damon Bruce said on his popular sports talk radio show in San Francisco, here you go. Take 9 minutes and listen to it. My grandma told me “some sports radio host said women don’t belong in sports media,” so that’s how I heard about Bruce’s comments.
Once I heard what he said, the “apology” and understanding the context in which he said it, here’s how I’ll sum up what I think he was clumsily trying to say: Bruce believes sports are raw and unfiltered and people who don’t appreciate that shouldn’t try to change it. His mistake, and it’s a bad one, was that he correlated women in sports media to a shift in conversation. He also said sports is a “men’s only club” and other more inciting “insight” along that ilk.
First, I'd like to applaud Bruce for speaking his mind. Doesn’t bother me when that happens, even when I disagree with his opinion, even when I’m living proof that he’s wrong. But when we shut down dialogue, ideas get stagnant. I invited Bruce on my radio show to discuss this, he said when he’s able to join me, he will. He is currently suspended for his comments.
Second, hypothetically, let’s just say what Bruce is alleging is true. Let’s just say that women participating in sports media makes EVERYONE more sensitive and pansy-assed. Fact is, estimates are that women make up less than 10% of sports media. So THAT is some serious ninja-level efficiency if women are affecting THAT much change while representing such a gross minority. Bruce shouldn’t even be mad. He should be kinda impressed. (Ron Burgandy voice).
Third, can’t tell you how often I’m asked 1) “How do you know so much about sports?” or 2) “What’s it like to work in a man’s world?” or 3) “Why do you like sports?”
My answers are: 1) “Lawyers study the law, I study sports.” 2) “I’ve only ever been a woman in this world. No clue what a man’s world looks like.” And 3) “Why do you like to breath?”
Bruce’s comments reflect a societal theme that sports begin with men and women in sports are there because of men. It’s highly pervasive and only going work it’s way out of common sentiments with conversations sparked by guys like Bruce and women responding intelligently and patiently.
Bruce’s attempt to defend Richie Incognito for his bullying of a teammate led to Bruce’s own bullish ideas being exposed. And he’s not alone. I'd be willing to bet these were concepts he hashed out with his buddies, finding agreement from male counterparts and concluding he's onto something significant. Significantly short-sighted.
I don’t want him to be fired; he’s a talented broadcaster. BUT, I think he needs to be around people who are less “yes-men” (or women) and challenge his opinions. He fell into an all-too-common trap of believing his opinion IS fact. And in radio, hosts are often told to be confident in their opinion, regardless of what it is. That can be solid advice, I guess, so long as there’s fact supporting that limb you’re hanging on. Otherwise the only thing that’ll support you if that limb breaks is the fact gravity sends you crashing to earth.
In some ways, this situation with Bruce reminds me of when Augusta finally “allowed” women as members more than a year ago. It proves how far behind the times they are and how regressive their ideas are because women don’t need their approval or allowance to live happy, prosperous lives. In any capacity.