Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why We Fight (for real sports coverage)

Fans like yours truly want sports writers to sink their nasty little teeth into better topics than irrelevant fights between amateur players, playing in matches that matter to no one but those teams and their campuses.

We would like: Nasty rants about the shit refereeing in the women's college game (because that matters nationally). Cynical swipes at Marta's Amway deal. Follow up on rumors that players have been selling Amway to make up for their crap salaries, and let's hear more about that agent of Marta's while we are looking at the business side of things. How about some paranoid writing about the UNC-Chapel Hill cult. Let's hear about who pays for retired NWT players' knee surgeries. And why not rip into AEG, for the "good will" this WPS sponsor garnered for themselves while they sold out the best team in the league. (Called it here, natch.)

How about some bitching about player development systems? The weirdness of international scouting for the WPS? And the fact that FIFA can't think of anyone who knows how to play soccer besides Marta. (I mean, she's great - amazing - but four years in a row? Seriously?) Let's push up against the milktoast vibe of the USWNT while we are at it, and call out the US Soccer Federation on its apologetic attitude that the women's team has a (MUCH) better record than the men's team in international competition, as if this was something one should be sorry for. Or: let's call out FIFA on their paternalism and test this hypothesis: FIFA's involvement with the women's game has set the development of the women's game in most countries BACK, because FIFA requires that the women's program be run by - you guessed it - the men who run national football associations. Who are mostly corrupt bastards. Why won't FIFA deal with a separately organized National Women's Football Association in those countries which have failed their women's program?  Like: India, Uruguay, South Africa and, oh, let's say Spain.

Sports fans want their sport taken seriously - this doesn't mean uncritical boosterism - far from it.  We want reports on the highs, and the lows - especially the lows! - the problem with women's soccer has been that the real lows (see above) are not reported. Instead we get nothing, and then a blip of hysterical shit about how violent the women's game is (see the men's World Cup final, anyone??), and an open invitation to the morons who never watch the women's game, ever, to give their opinions about how lame it is. 

Every now and again someone writes something real about the game - Grant Wahl and Andrea Canales's stories about Hope Solo's return to the US Women's National Team after the World Cup fiasco, for example.  Coverage like this is rare - and, frankly, that controversy would have had a very different shape if sports writers had been more critically engaged with the USWNT from the start.

Sports fans gripe and complain, we obsess and worry.  Fans of the women's game have few forums to vent about the real stuff - and it's infuriating to watch this stories go uninvestigated and unremarked upon. We deserve better stories than the "news" that women lose their tempers. Much better.


  1. Amway has ripped off millions of people for several decades, to the tune of 10s of billions of dollars. If you were an IBO within the past 4 years and want to get your Amway Tool Scam money back, contact me at in order to join my lawsuit.

    Read about the Amway Tool Scam on this website: and forward the information to everyone you know, so they can join the lawsuit and stopped getting scammed.

    Amway is a scam, and here's why: Amway pays out as little money as they can get away with, so they support the higher level IBOs ripping off their downline via the tool scam.

    As a result, about 99% of IBOs operate at a net loss, while the top 1% make several TIMES more from their Amway tool scam than from the Amway products. This was made illegal in the UK in 2008, but our FTC is unable to pull their heads out of their butts to stop it here.

  2. I wouldn't normally publish the above - I really do try to keep comments centered on the sport. But Amway's & Herbalife's involvement with soccer in the US has long been on the top of my list of things I wish people would talk about more. Not because I want to get too into the whole multi-level marketing debate (my feelings on this are clear), but because I want to know more about why these companies are investing in our community - and why leauges - and AYSO - feel their backs are so against the wall that they take money from companies that have not the best of associations, in terms of branding.

  3. Canales' article did a very interesting job of presenting the ethic that informed the USWNT's expulsion of Solo for saying she should have been played, as many professionals would do. She had a very plausible case. She had to book her own flight home from China for Marta's sake.

    One point (and this does not detract from the soundness of the points you are making): Soccer is growing in the US because media coverage has been delinked from networks and newspapers that didn't want to make room for another sport.

    Women's sports will slowly do the same thing.

  4. Yes, I totally agree with you. Women's soccer has to go, in fact, with the flow - which is away from traditional media, towards social networks etc. The more it taps into the energy of alternative media, the better. I always think of 'xtreme' sports as an interesting model - developed a bit off the grid, more of a subcultural vibe - and lo and behold, its one of the domains in which the toughness of its women athletes is fully celebrated!


Feedback? Let me know what you think. Just an FYI: all comments posted to this blog are recorded, whether I publish them or not. I do not publish generally hateful comments - whether they be directed at me or at players and teams or other readers. I appreciate reader feedback, especially from those whose contributions add nuance and complexity to the story.

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