Episode 55: Danica Patrick’s legacy, growing women’s sports, and an interview with Holly Rowe

On this week’s show, Lindsay, Shireen, and Jessica discuss the complicated legacy of Danica Patrick as she closes out her racing career. Then Jessica interviews ESPN’s Holly Rowe about the NCAA softball tournament, Rowe’s advocacy at ESPN for women’s sports, and her WNBA play-by-play debut this past Sunday. And we put on our Commissioner hats and talk about what women’s sports leagues could do to help grow their audiences.

Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, our Bad Ass Woman of the Week, and what is good in our worlds.

Intro (3:18) Danica Patrick (17:00) Interview with Holly Rowe (31:14) Growing women’s sports (47:15) Burn Pile (53:14) Bad Ass Woman of the Week (55:49) What’s Good (1:01:30) Outro

For links and a transcript…


“It Never Ends” by Danica Patrick https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/danica-patrick-it-never-ends

“Danica Patrick Is Not Doing It For Women” (2010) https://jezebel.com/5546468/danica-patrick-is-not-doing-it-for-women

“Danica Patrick, Shut Up and Drive” http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/02/danica_patrick_godaddy_ads_racing_s_fastest_female_is_throwing_the_women.html

“Nascar’s Danica Patrick drove the lonely road to a feminist legacy” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/21/danica-patrick-career-over-feminist-nascar

“ESPN’s Holly Rowe, battling cancer, keeps pushing her career in new directions” https://theathletic.com/355977/2018/05/16/espns-holly-rowe-battling-cancer-keeps-pushing-her-career-in-new-directions/

“Minnesota Whitecaps Join NWHL” http://www.gophersports.com/sports/w-hockey/spec-rel/051618aaa.html

“With repeated calls for one league, the NWHL and CWHL are still on different pages” http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/23501094/with-repeated-calls-one-league-nwhl-cwhl-different-pages

“Welcome to the W.N.B.A.: Good Luck Finding a Job” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/sports/wnba-los-angeles-sparks.html

“Royals are finding their way on the field, but they’ve got a crowd behind them” https://www.sltrib.com/sports/royals/2018/05/08/royals-still-are-finding-their-way-on-the-field-but-theyve-got-a-crowd-behind-them/

“The Dallas Wings have a plan to improve attendance. So far, it’s working” https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/05/10/dallas-wings-greg-bibb.html

“The NWSL Hasn’t Had A Commissioner For Over A Year, And It’s Getting Left Behind” https://deadspin.com/the-nwsl-hasnt-had-a-commissioner-for-over-a-year-and-1825960383

“Gender equality? FAU gave feds false numbers, ranked near bottom” https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/gender-equality-fau-gave-feds-false-numbers-ranked-near-bottom/r1HcYrXaoDkiq5DbW8woOI/

“Israeli football club renames itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem after ‘courageous’ president” https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/may/13/beitar-jerusalem-donald-trump-us-embassy-israel

“Reacting to plunging revenues, Salt Lake Tribune lays off a third of its newsroom, cuts back print offerings” https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/05/14/reacting-to-plunging-revenues-salt-lake-tribune-lays-off-a-third-of-its-newsroom-cuts-back-print-offerings/

“Abanda says tweet not a shot at Bouchard, just wants to be treated equally” http://www.sportingnews.com/ca/tennis/news/francoise-abanda-genie-bouchard-tweet-explanation-quotes-conference-call-wta/rf8cyd7bsw4q19v5ewxyim8wb

“Toyo Ajibolade: Young Woman of Distinction” https://www.ywcatoronto.org/womenofdistinction/recipients#anchor_ajibolade

“Breaking stereotypes: Pakistani weightlifter from KP wins bronze in Australia” http://www.arabnews.com/node/1302546/world

“Champions Again, China Extends Title Records” https://www.ittf.com/2018/05/08/reliving-magic-liebherr-2018-world-team-championships/

“Emma Hayes: Chelsea Ladies manager gives birth to boy” https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/44160834

“Cal report substantiates WNBA star Layshia Clarendon’s sexual harassment claims against ex-athletic department employee” http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/23520569/cal-report-substantiates-wnba-star-layshia-clarendon-sexual-harassment-claims-former-athletic-department-employee


Lindsay: Hello, hello, hello fellow flame throwers and welcome to Burn It All Down: The Feminist Sports Podcast You Need. I’m Lindsay Gibbs sports reporter at ThinkProgress will be your host today. And joining me are your two beloved co-hosts: Jessica Luther, the dogged Investigative Journalist from Austin, Texas and Shireen Ahmed, sports reporter and self reclaimed cat lover in Toronto, Canada.

This week, we’re going to talk about Danica Patrick’s complicated legacy. Look at the current status of the top three women’s pro-teen leagues, I would say. The National Women’s Hockey League, National Women’s Soccer League, and WNBA, and play a fun game of, “If I were a commissioner.” And then we have an incredibly special guests interview today. Jessica is going to talk to the legend herself, Holly Rowe, about the NCAA Softball Tournament women’s basketball, her recent adventure in the play-by-play, and so much more because Holly Rowe, literally, does it all. She is an ESPN announcer, if you’re not familiar with her. If you’re not familiar with her then today is your lucky day because you will be familiar with her soon.

First of all, I want to shout out to our Patreons. If you’re new to us, we’re an entirely independent podcast. No big media backers, which means we rely totally on our listeners to keep us going. The way we do that is through a Patreon page, patreon.com/burnitalldown. You can go there and pledge a monthly donation. And for as little a $2 a month, which I have to say a lot of the Patreon pages make it be $5 a month as the smallest but we do $2 because we are all broke too. But for as little as $2 a month, you can get access to exclusive Patreon only podcast segments.

Lat week we had a lot of fun talking about the NBA and NHL playoffs for our Patreon listeners but I do want to say, now that we are a week into this conference semifinals, do we have anything to add? How has this lay week been for you in the playoff layout?

Jessica: Should we never make a prediction ever again in the show? Is that where you were getting at?

Lindsay: If people want to laugh at us, they should go back to that podcast.

Jessica: I think Amira is laughing at us, is what’s happening.

Shireen: I think I’m kind of … I love Amira so much but I’m a little relieved she is not on this week because I would be eating so much humble pie, so much about her Celtics.

Lindsay: Although, I don’t know, Cleveland crushed the Celtics last night, so it’s not over.

Jessica: That’s true.

Lindsay: It’s not over yet.

Shireen: It’s not over.

Lindsay: It’s not over. I am still will be going to help because Boston sports fans even … You know Boston are bad, one that makes even the most lovely person in the world, Amira Davis. So, yeah. Its been really fun to watch us playoffs but there is a lot more to talk about and so we’re just going to get right into it. Danica Patrick, Jess, get us started on this conversation.

Jessica: Sure. This upcoming Sunday, May 27th, it will be Danica Patricks last pro race, the ND500. She’s been a history-making female athlete. She’s striking making many fast from women drivers and both NASCAR and IndyCar, which means she’s taken a lot of criticism in her career that is tinged with or held as blatantly sexist, but she is also kind of a strange person to have as a feminist icon give her way that she’s marketed herself. Remember those racy GoDaddy ads or the Maxims spreads that she’s done?

GoDaddy is actually now back as her main sponsor in her final race. She’ll be driving their very bright green car around the track in Indianapolis. She’s often bopped at doing this for women thing. She’s sort of famously said that that wasn’t what this is all about for her but she’s also named her new company Warrior, which I find fascinating. She’s had a political, or you could read that as conservative persona but, of course, she is raisin in a very conservative sport and you could argue that she’s used her sex appeals to get ahead because of way sports media, media in general, and you know how this whole fucking culture works is that women are priced first for being women, for being sexy, then maybe for being athletes.

She wasn’t the only female driver on the sea when she broke out and there have been other women alongside her during her career, but it her name and face that we all know. So going in, sort of looking back on her career as we come to the end of it, I want to throw this to Lindsay first. How do you feel about Danica Patrick?

Lindsay: Complicated is the right word that I feel. It’s tough because usually, the women that I really look up to in sports are women that … You know nobody is perfect. I don’t think I have a single icon that’s perfect but everyone, usually, contains a lot of the attributes that I look for in a friend, or in a mentor, or just values that I hold dear. That they are very progressive. That they very much speak up for women. That they talk about intersectionality, and all these things.

And that’s not who Danica Patrick is. That’s just not who she is. However, I started covering NASCAR about four years ago for Bleacher Report and when I started covering the sport, I knew nothing about it. I just needed to make money and my editor asked if I could do NASCAR columns, and I said yes because you just say yes because there would be an extra $150 a week, and I needed that very badly at the time. And so, I started looking at the sports and I really found myself rooting for Danica, and wanting her to succeed, and following her car around the track. And always, whenever the standing would come up in the mid-race, just looking for her car.

It’s always been interesting to me that it still can mean so much, like her representation in the sport could still mean so much even to someone like me. I was not an inspiring race car driver by any means but just that seeing a woman mixing up with these guys on a week in week out basis, that I could still find that to be powerful, even if I didn’t find everything that she stood for to be empowering, if that makes sense.

I’m sad to be her career ending, I’ve got to be honest. I’m sad that she wasn’t able to find more success on the track. And I’m sad that this is the kind of where we’re leaving it and I hope that this will open up doors for many to follow but I also think that it’s important to acknowledge what we’re going even talk about today, which is that she is … We need to talk about the more complicated parts of her legacy. Did that answer your question?

Jessica: Of course. Of course. Shireen?

Lindsay: Shireen.

Jessica: Oops, sorry.

Shireen: I don’t know much, admittedly, about NASCAR. I know of Danica Patrick, so what Jessica you said was apt, that I know nothing about it, but in terms of women going on other than the pit mechanic that we talked about, who was the first black pit mechanic in NASCAR history, I know of Danica Patrick. I also know that Danica Patrick tweeted out after Trump won that, “What a crazy night. I look forward to @realDonaldTrump #MakeAmericaGreatAgain! Don’t we all want America to be great?! Stay positive Mercia!” So, I’m wondering if Mercia was actually … I’m assuming it’s a typo but what I’m trying to say-

Lindsay: For America?

Shireen: … Yeah, which is spelled as mercy and I’m like, “Was she being meta there or was it just a typo?” Or whatever. Now, the thing is, I get it, she’s this woman coming up. But when she was prompted to talk about this specific tweet, for which, in my opinion, fairly got a lot of criticism, her reply was, “Well, you know people are so negative and they’re the most loud.”

In terms of the complication of Danica Patrick, let’s talk about the absolute zero ability for her to have any race analysis at all because it’s not that people are negative, it’s that people are systemically oppressed. So, when people complain about something, it’s not they are being negative. It’s them actually talking about something that’s seriously problematic, and her race privilege completely plays into part here because she doesn’t even understand the baseline here of negativity and systemic issues, because it’s something she’s never experienced.

Absolutely, she’s had to confront sexism and misogyny in the highest levels. And in the echelons of misogyny, I’m sorry, NASCAR is just very up there. But for me, I can’t embrace this person. I just simply can’t embrace people who love Trump or who are hopeful for Trump. For me, it doesn’t compute.

Lindsay: Yeah. I think that’s incredibly fair and I often wonder. If I hadn’t started really following these races in a little bit of a different world in 2014, 2015, when there wasn’t a Trump for her to be tweeting about, if I would have been able to follow her the way I was, when I was first, and I don’t think I would have. I think it changes everything and rightly so.

The marketing, let’s talk a little bit about how she’s marketed herself because it’s very interesting that NASCAR is, first of all, one of the hardest sports, if not the hardest sport to break into. And I know that sounds bizarre but think about it that on the upper echelon, there are only about 42 drivers every single week, and they are the same 42 drivers week in, week out on the top socket of the sport. They are the ones that are making the money. And they also, most of these drives have 10, 15, 20 year-long careers even. So it’s not like there is a bunch of turnover between year to year.

So, it’s an incredibly difficult sport to make it to the top. And in order to make it to the top, one thing you need is sponsors. It is not a you-get-added-to-this-team-and-everything-is-taken-care-for you to sport. You sign a contract and you’re guaranteed this money, you are a walking billboard and your car is literally a billboard for advertisers. So, on the one end, Danica, the way she embraced her sexuality and used her looks could be off-putting to some, although we also want to say we don’t want to hold that against anyone, right?

We want everyone to do what they want and what makes them comfortable. But at the same time, it allowed her to … She wouldn’t have been able to get to the NASCAR top series, honestly, if she hadn’t had, along with solid racing talent, all of these sponsors to come along with her in all of the eyeballs at that bra. So, how do we feel about that? About her kind of exploiting the patriarchy in this way, Jess?

Jessica: At the same time, yeah, exploiting it but also participating directly in it, which is why-

Lindsay: Yeah, I know. That’s fair.

Jessica: … which is why I hated those GoDaddy ads. I hated all the GoDaddy ads. At point in time they were all trash but it was bummer that she was participating in it even as I can hear the logic of your argument about sponsorship, which makes me think maybe, I don’t know, “What’s the point of the sport?” To me, that’s not fair on the spots podcasts. But if that’s what it takes to be a successful woman in the sport, what is the redeeming quality here of this? I don’t even know what to do with that. I don’t necessarily judge her choices when they’re so narrow, we can only get so many and who am I to say, I’m not the one making them but also I really did hate those choices but, again, is that about the individual or the system? And I don’t really know how you reckon with that other than just sort of holding it.

Shireen: Well, I will defer to both of you, obviously, on this whole thing but in terms of patriarchy, it sort of puts … And I’m no way advocating for anyone who I find super problematic in their views on or non-existing views on race but it’s a very tough system to work in. Like you’re trying to work in a system that’s established and wasn’t created to benefit or include women in the first place. So, at the same time that we’re critical of her in different ways, and I’m specifically critical of her in terms of her comment. I’m sorry, I can’t shake off to supporting Trump. I don’t care how positive you want to be. I just can’t. I can’t do it.

Lindsay: Fair.

Shireen: I’m very positive. I’m a positive fucking person. So, the reality is that it’s not a system. I don’t blame her entirely and in terms of using sexuality or doing, this is what is done about and we get into a conversation about survival. What does that look like? How do you advance yourself? Even her team that surrounded her, they wouldn’t even know how because as long as Lindsay already mentioned, she is probably surrounded only by men. It’s not even sure … There is no map of how to navigate this, so it is really complicated.

Lindsay: Yeah. And I guess just to kind of wrap up this conversation, going back to one of the other criticism of her, which was that because of the amount of marketing that she did for herself and the amount of attention that she garnered by the time she made it to NASCAR or really was kind of brought over to NASCAR from the IndyCar series, which is a really difficult transition for any racer, and especially difficult when you’re under the microscope like she was. She grew up racing in IndyCars in open-wheel racing and then went to the STARCARs and that’s not easy to do, and she really never found the success to match the hype on that socket but there was always this perception that things were just gifted to her because she was this woman who everyone knew.

And that always really bothered me because first of all, look around. If it was that easy, you would see a lot more Danica Patricks, right? You would see a lot more women if people were just going to give you NASCAR career because you’re an attractive woman. That’s not really how this works. And early on in her career, she went through a lot. In her late teens … Actually, when she was still in high school, she got an opportunity through a sponsor to go race Formula One over in England and she left everybody in America behind, and went over. Not only was she an American there, she was American girl and a teenager.

There was this great, 2012 ESPN profile, which we will link, and she was talking about that experience. And she said, “I remember one day, specifically, I finished faster than everyone else and the owner of the team got only the other guys, like, “This girl was the quickest, what the F are you doing? Get out and drive.” That was the owner of her team. That was the guy who was supposed to be supporting her, who was throwing her under the bus. So, she did overcome a lot of things and she is incredibly tough, and I think in a lot ways that tough exterior that she had to kind of develop very early on to climb her way up in this world, got … It stayed with her. It made people see her as this kind of evil villain almost, like not nice woman but in many ways, I saw that as kind of a survival mechanism.

And also, let’s say now she is also dating Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers, but he has actually been pretty progressive in a lot of ways. I’m kind of hoping that she is getting out of the NASCAR world, maybe this will help a little bit. You don’t like Aaron Rodgers?

Jessica: I don’t like that he is dating Danica Patrick. That makes me question Aaron Rodgers, I don’t know. It could go the other way, you never know these things.

Lindsay: It goes the other way, got it. Got it. Anyways, let’s move on. All right, this week our Jessica Luther talk to ESPN’s Holly Rowe. Here is that interview.

Jessica: If you have followed sports at all, the last two decades, you have seen Holly Rowe on your TV screen as a sideline reporter. She is only absolute best in the business or perhaps, you have heard her do play-by-play. Yesterday she made a debut doing play-by-play for the WNBA when she called championship rematch between the Minnesota Lynx and the LA Sparks on ESPN2 during the opening weekends for the league’s 22nd season. The game came down to the final shot with LA winning it, another classic between those rival teams.

Burn It All Down is thrilled and honored to have Holly Rowe with us this week. Thank you for talking with us today, Holly.

Holly: I’m so excited. Thank you.

Jessica: I have so much that I want to cover with you. This is a huge weekend for women sport in general and so, of course, I’m going to get to the WBA kickoff. But I wanted to start with the NCAA Softball Tournament because I know you often cover softball and this is a sport that’s grown in popularity almost exponentially over the last few years. So, the championship has just started, correct? They were doing regionals this weekend?

Holly: Yeah, they just finished regionals and 16 teams advanced to what they call Super Regionals and that actually begins this weekend. It’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday for the eight sports to go to the World Series.

Jessica: Wow. Okay, and are you going to be calling any of the softball this year?

Holly: Yes. I am doing Arizona at UCLA. That is one of the biggest rivalries in college softball for decades and it will be the first time they’ve ever met in the Super Regional with the World Series on the line. So, in our softball world, when I say this is an epic series, it is the old Lakers-Celtics of the yesteryear in softball this weekend.

Jessica: Wow. Okay. That’s good to know. How did you get into softball? What do you love about softball?

Holly: Well, I played softball growing up. This is an embarrassing story because it tells you-

Jessica: Go ahead.

Holly: … how old I am but when I was growing up, we didn’t have a softball team for my high school. I was just after Title IX pass and so women sports were really just starting to become a bigger deal when I was in high school. And so, I played in my church softball league the moment church in Utah, where I grew up, passed an extensive youth sports program.

So we had like, I don’t know, eight or 10 softball teams in week and it was super competitive. All the girls that would have been playing high school softball in my town were playing church softball and then bonnet ball was our other Rec Leagues. So, I am one of the best ever church leagues softball players, probably, but that doesn’t count for much. I always feel cheated out that I didn’t get to play in high school or college because I love it and I was good at it. I’m kind of built exactly right for softball but started covering, I think 15, almost 14, 15 years ago for ESPN.

One of my bosses, Ed Placey, he called me up and said, “Hey, the person that normally does softball is pregnant and has gone to maternity leave, could you fill in at the World Series?” And really, I had not heard much about the World Series. It was just really starting to be televised and so I filled in. I think that was … It’s either 14 or 15 years ago and the rest is history. I’ve worked every World Series since then.

Jessica: I have friends who love softballs and it’s amazing to me just how big it has become. ESPN is showing all of these matches, right? You can watch the entire tournament if you’d like now.

Holly: It was so crazy. I got home last night from the WNBA game and I got to my hotel room, and I had a WNBA game on my iPad and then I had three different softball games playing on the TV and my phone and I was like, “I’m ticked today that this many options for viewing women’s sports are on TV in one day.” Just think of how far we’ve come that every WNBA game yesterday was televised in some capacity. Every single softball game yester was televised in some capacity. I just feel like it’s huge progress for us.

Jessica: One of the things I wanted to ask you about is, I saw your coverage of the NCAA beach volleyball tournament and ESPN was so interesting because they covered so much stuff, and they just continue, especially now that you can stream so much. I was wondering about your position at this company that you’ve been at for decades and you’re obviously like a really strong voice and advocate for women sport. How much sway do you have in that space to say, “I think that we should be covering this other really cool thing that’s going on in women’s sport?” How does that work behind the scenes?

Holly: I don’t know how much sway I have. I do think people would listen to me. I don’t think I have any power but I do think I could be a voice. Years ago when beach volleyball … This is only the third season that the NCAA has had beach volleyball. So it’s a brand new sport. If you think about how big softball is now, this is like us getting into softball all those years ago. And so I talked to my volleyball boss at the time and I said, “We have to do this event. I think this can be huge, we could grow beach volleyball. This is a sport that is just dying to explode.”

And for whatever reason, I think the bid process had already happened we didn’t get the rights. I don’t know if we even bid on them, to be honest. It went to TBS, in Turner. And I think since then, we’ve all kind of been like, “We need to get into this.” One of my other bosses at ESPN, Pete Derzis, he’s kind of a guide that specializes in putting events together, and he kept coming to the bosses too saying, “We need to get this sport on TV. This is a huge event.” So, I think there was a lot of us behind the scenes that were like, “We see potential in this sport.” I think it takes people like that of like, “Hey, we can make this interesting.”

Jessica: Absolutely, and ESPN definitely has that ability. So that is so exciting to see those things happening. Okay, so let’s talk WNBA because this was like a huge weekend for the start of the league. It was a huge weekend for you personally. But I wanted to start by asking you to talk a little bit … You’re famous for how good you are at sideline reporting. I actually thought that was a really sweet moment when you first through it to LaChina Robinson who was your sideline reporter for the game this weekend, and she was like, “Oh, this is a lot of pressure to be Holly’s sideline reporter.” And so, I first wanted to ask you about that job in particular. What makes you so good at it? What skill is it that you have?

Holly: It’s interesting because they take two very different skills, and that was really brought home to me again yesterday. The play-by-play job is so different. You have to be a keen observer, a wordsmith. A person that can maneuver quickly in and out of things because they’re throwing promo cards at you and … You know a traffic cop, there’s all this stuff going on in my headset and you have to seamlessly make it all happen on television.

The sideline reporter, you’re just coming in and out with impromptu things. So, I feel like why I am a strong sideline reporter is I am obsessively nosy, like I want to find stuff out. This is a strength/weakness of mine is I’m so curious. I think my curiosity is my number one trait. I’m so curious. I want to know why. I want to know what they’re saying. I just want to be able to tell the story. I’m creative too is. So, when something’s happening on the court and I’m like, “Oh, oh, I remember. This will fit here, da da da.”

And so, because nothing’s ever planned with my sideline role, I think my ability to be creative and adapt is my greatest strength, which is maybe why I’ve gone more in that direction and the play-by-play. Yes, it’s good to develop all your skills, and I was grateful to be able to try to develop a little my play-by-play still yesterday.

Jessica: As I was listening to you do it, I was wondering what kind of prep goes into play-by-play because, obviously, you have to hold a lot of information about the players themselves, and the teams themselves, and all that sort of stuff. But I also just wondered about like having little catchphrases and ways you describe where people are on the court. Do you have to prep that kind of stuff?

Holly: It’s interesting somebody asked me that. I do work with people that have catchphrases, there are certain ways that they say things. In fact, I stole a couple of them from my part Ryan Ruocco yesterday. He has one phrase where he’s always like, “She bullies her way to the basket,” and I love that phrase because it’s when a woman puts her shoulder down, and is leaning into the defender, and pushes through the contact to finish at the basket. So, I think if I did it more on a regular basis, I would develop a little bit more of that vocabulary but you grow up listening to sports. I think so much of that vocabulary is already within us but I think the challenge is to not be cliché and just say something for the sake of saying it.

Jessica: Right. Right. So, how do you feel about your debut calling play-by-play for WNBA?

Holly: I don’t know. I need to go back and listen to it today but Rebecca Lobo, who’s a dear friend of mine, she looked at me and she said, “That went way better than I thought it was going to.” And she was like,” No offense. I’m not trying to be condescending,” but she didn’t know how I’d do. I hadn’t done it for a long time and so for her to say she thought it went well that meant a lot to me because she’s someone I respect her opinion.

I definitely think I could have done better on a few technical issues like who was in the bonus or who had fouls to give. There’s some technical things that you need to let the viewers know but down at the stretch in the fourth quarter, I tried to be really careful with not over talking, with just setting up both teams have a timeout, or this team has a foul to give, or this many seconds left, or what have you to just paint the picture of the drama and what was unfolding. And so, I do think I’d give myself an A+ for not over talking. I’d probably give myself a B- for some of the technical things I could have done better.

One thing I didn’t do that I thought I would have done more is but I had all these copious notes on every player and what I found is there’s not a lot of time in a broadcast. You have time when someone’s at the free-throw line to quickly get in one line about Chelsea Gray, led the league in three-point shooting last year or one little quick nugget, and then you’re doing a promo, or you’re getting the sideline person involved, or you’re getting your analyst involved. So, I think I’ve learned that the economy of words is important because it’s hard to get stories in.

Jessica: Yeah, and what a hell of a game to debut. Well, I mean-

Holly: No pressure, right? Game-winner, oh my gosh.

Jessica: Oh, God. I can’t … What a game! That was … I honestly can’t remember your commentary at the end because I was screaming through the last minute of play, I think.

Holly: As it should be. I really think you should never be like, “Oh, the announcers are this or that.” I think you should just remember you watched a good game and they told you what was happening. So, I love that. That makes me happy.

Jessica: Yeah. Do you I anticipate doing more play-by-play this season?

Holly: I don’t think this season, just because our schedules already set and this was filling in for Ryan Ruocco who has Yankees assignments. So, I’m definitely sidelined for the rest of this season but I just wanted to do it one because I love the league and I know these two teams so well. I just thought this would be a good way to honor them of, “I want to do it, not some stranger that hasn’t done the WNBA all year.” This this was me taking care of my kids in a way and the rest of our teams are together all season but I hope it showed my bosses that I have some versatility and that they can think of me for other roles too.

Jessica: That’s great. The last thing that I wanted to ask you going back to softball, and then we’ll do this for the WNBA too. So, you just told us about UCLA in Arizona for softball but are there any other storylines that we should be paying attention to for the rest of the championship?

Holly: Yes, absolutely. One of them is Oklahoma has a chance to three-peat. So, softball-

Jessica: Oh, wow.

Holly: They have won the last two national championships, Oklahoma, and that they are just as good this year. They are into this Super Regional and they are just playing so great. They have probably the best defense in the country and they have a freshman that’s leading the nation in home runs. So, they have a potent great defense and then two all American pitchers. So, I think Oklahoma is still going to be a handful. But then Oregon is another team I’ve really got my eye on because I think they’re the complete package and they’ve been to the World Series the last few years knocking on the door, they get eliminated too early. So, I think Oregon has a lot to prove and they have the pieces to do that this year.

Jessica: Wow. That sounds very exciting, and the World Series is played in Oklahoma City, right?

Holly: Yes. Yes, and I’m sure there’s some fans out there going to wait. Oklahoma always has a home field advantage which is a little bit true but this is an event that’s been there for as long as I’ve been doing and I think it’s about 20-plus years now. And it’s a great environment and softball fans flock there. I’ve met people that are like, “I got my tickets to the World Series,” and that was in November.

Jessica: Wow.

Holly: People I want to come here and want to make it a bucket list for an event. So, it’s really cool.

Jessica: That’s awesome. And then looking at the WNBA, are there specific things that you’re looking forward to, this season? Players we should be paying attention to? We just had the championship matchup that you called, but any other stuff that we should be paying attention to as fans?

Holly: Yeah. I think this is a very interesting year of the old guard versus the young guard. So, there is this wash of fresh young talent in the league, maybe the most I can remember ever but there are still some older teams. Cheryl Reed from Minnesota said, “I’ll take the old-timers any day because they’re talented but intelligent.” But there’s a point where these young players … So, A’ja Wilson at Las Vegas as a player that I’ve got my eye. Diamond DeShields is a rookie in Chicago that’s to a good start. Breanna Stewart is someone who … This is her third year and I think a year for her to make a big move. So, I kind of want to see how the young guns rise up and if the old older players are able to hold court.

Jessica: Yeah. It should be a really fun season and we look forward to listening to all of your amazing sideline reporting, and thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down, Holly Rowe.

Holly: Thank you for having me. It was so fun. I appreciate your time.

Lindsay: All right. Well, the WNBA season gets started this weekend. By the time you’re already listening to it, pretty much every team will have played a game. You’ve also got the NWSL season that is well underway and there’s been some big news out of the NWHL this week. We kind of wanted to recap all that and then play a fun game of, “If I were commissioner.” Shireen, get us started.

Shireen: So, I was planning to sing “who runs the world girls” as part of my intro to the segment-

Lindsay: Please, go ahead.

Shireen: … but I’m just going to pass the mic. No, I have a terrible … Just so you know I have a terrible voice. I can dance on the car to it but I can’t sing it. But my point is, as Lindsay mentioned, there’s some really, really fun stuff happening. NWHL added to team in Minnesota, which is really exciting. Now, there’s a lot of stuff coming up and being reflected and opined upon about those two leagues: the National Women’s Hockey League, and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Now, I find this really fascinating because now players and former players have started discussing it, like Cassie Campbell who is a legend in Canadian women’s hockey said … There’s a hashtag to try to unite one league. And as well Hilary Knight, who plays for Les Canadiennes, even though she’s a huge, huge part of the American women’s gold medal-winning Olympian.

Lindsay: That’s right, Shireen. Yes, she is. Yes.

Shireen: See how modest and good I am for saying that. So, she actually plays in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She plays in Montreal with Les Canadiennes and she also said that it would be good. Now, historically, we’ve talked about this on the show before, the two leagues have very different philosophies in terms of how to run. As much as it’s easy for everyone say, “Let’s pull the resources,” it doesn’t really work that way all the time and it’s also is a really good indication of sometimes how, even within structures of women’s sports, there’s a lot of posturing. There’s a lot of power. There’s a lot of ideology that might not be similar for everybody, and I think this is an important conversation we could have.

Now, to get on to the WNBA, I think that Lisa Borders is incredible in terms of Commissioner. I think she’s really, really, really powerful. She seems to know what she’s doing. I would want to model myself like her as a commissioner. I just think she’s in touch with the players. She understands what’s happening, and in terms of growing the game, its affected their social media stuff. Their twitter is on point. Their Instagram is on point. So, mad respect for that and to oversee all that delegated is really, really great.

Then we get to the NWSL, who actually don’t have a commissioner at the moment and are … And my instinct is to nominate Brenda, but I feel like Brenda would be more effective as president of FIFA because she would just destroy all these useless men. That’s my instinct is to have that. But I wonder about that and I wonder about the success of the NWSL who, without a commissioner, they have an acting commissioner but they don’t have an actual somebody in that position and I’m like, “How is this happening?” Because there’s incredible players in the NWSL. It’s a World Cup year next year. It makes me wonder.

But in certain places, like we see in Portland that scene is still thriving. So, it makes me wonder about the culture of the game. The culture of women’s soccer in the United States and how each individual play … Orlando has an incredible culture and a lot of team support for Pride. So, the fact that NWSL hasn’t had a commissioner per year makes me also wonder why the gong show, that is USA soccer sometimes, isn’t helping more to find someone. We know that USA soccer was very busy in their own ranks what I don’t want to see is a man as commissioner of the NWSL. I can tell you that straight up.

Lindsay: Absolutely, always. One of the things that’s been interesting to me is watching how this Utah expansion franchise has done this year in the NWSL. Does anyone has something to add to that? Give me like really fantastic crowds. It’s good to see that there is a way to do this and have it be successful. Does anyone else have thoughts on that? Jess?

Jessica: Yeah. One thing I’m thinking about as you guys are talking, and thinking about this, and how important it is, I think one thing that women’s sports and general struggles with is building fan culture. We’ve talked a lot about media infrastructure and how important that is as part of this and the lack of having media to help build that culture is important always and talking about this. But thinking about how the NWSL does not have a commissioner and then looking at what Utah is doing, and I’m thinking, especially for women’s sport as it is right now, how much does that sort of umbrella structure matter? That bigger thing like having a national commissioner of the league versus what the actual local people are doing, right? Because that’s the secret. That’s what they’re doing in Utah, is they’ve done a huge local campaign.

They’re modeling themselves after the Thorns. They’ve been fairly clear about this, that’s their goal, is to do what Portland’s doing but it does really matter. There’s a similar … The Dallas Wings, which is a team that I paid a lot of attention to in the WNBA, they’ve had the worst attendance for the last two years and they have a new guy in charge of the team, and he has done a phenomenal job in the last year building up season tickets holders.

So, they have way more season ticket holders but a big part of how they’ve done the work of having more people in the stands or that as the goal this season is to go into the local community, and specifically, to go into the local women’s basketball, girl’s basketball community and try to build from there and really have people on the ground building this. So, I’m just trying to think about like what is it that a commissioner can do for women’s sports league? How much does that matter versus really what the local people are doing?

Shireen: I also wanted to just sort of comment on that too, Jess. I’ve been listening and reading about what WNBA, what the players say about Lisa because a lot of the time, they’re asked to this question and I think those relationships are really important. Relationships generally are important but how the players feel about the commissioner. And I haven’t heard anyone … The players are always very supportive of the way that it’s being handle and that’s a testament to the league in itself and how happy players are with the way things are going. So, I really like that. It makes me feel positive because remember, I’m positive.

Jessica: If you have to keep saying it, Shireen…

Lindsay: Shireen Glass-Half-Full Ahmed over there.

Shireen: It actually makes me feel really happy and then so many of the interviews I’ve seen or the longer ones, people ask the athletes about Lisa Borders and they say good stuff. There’s also obvious suggestions and feedback and criticisms that are totally fair but on the whole, to trust your leader. This is what we’re talking about. They trust their leader and for me, it comes down to that, so much of us.

Lindsay: Yeah. I would agree. I think what you need from a commissioner is you need to be that face. You need to do that face advocating for the league. If you’re commissioner, I want to see you doing the morning shows and I’m talking everything from the Today Show, to SportsCenter to local news. I want to see you advocating for changes at pushing places forward. Pushing places like Yahoo Sports, and Fox Sports, and ESPN, which we talked about does a fairly good job with this but just to keep demanding more into pushing for these changes on a bigger broader level and being fearless about that. I like Lisa Borders and I do think that the players have faith on her.

I don’t think it’s as perfect of a relationship as a lot of us like to portray it as sometimes. It is very much a league that’s still trying to work these things out. I’ve been talking to a lot of players about how this Take A Stand campaign came up, which, if you haven’t followed the WNBA this week, launched a big ‘Take A Seat and Take A Stand’ campaign, which announced that $5 from every ticket sale to WNBA games will be going their women’s causes And so, there’s about six you can choose from Planned Parenthood to-

Jessica: It’s On Us.

Lindsay: LGBTQ, It’s On Us. There’s a lot of great ones. There aren’t any, however, that deal with race that are organizations for black women. And considering the WNBA is predominantly a league of black women and, obviously, it’s done so much activism in that area with the Black Lives Matter that really, I think, it struck all of us here at Burn It All Down as something that was missing. I’ll have a piece hopefully on this at ThinkProgress maybe even but by the time this podcast is up. And I’m talking to Lisa Borders later today and talked with Elizabeth Williams the Center, the Atlanta Dream about this yesterday.

And she’s a player rep, and she said, “Yeah, honestly, this is a great campaign but it kind of took us players by surprise. We weren’t that involved in it.” She was like, “I didn’t really hear about it till like a week before and then all of a sudden it was being launched.” It’s not perfect and there’s a long way to go. I’d still like to see Lisa Borders taking more charge with the communication between her players but also taking more of a leadership position as far as advocating for places to do better with their WNBA coverage. And I think, look, we’ve got to call people out. We’ve just got to keep pushing for more.

Jessica: Can I point out that Maya Moore was on SportsCenter this week and she called this out on Twitter? They put a graphic up on the bottom of the screen, I think that she was coming up and it said, “Three-time WNBA champion,” and she had to be like, “You all need to fact-check at SportsCenter,” because she’s a four-time champion.

Lindsay: Yeah, four-time.

Jessica: SportsCenter got it wrong. They had space for her, and the conversation was great, and I’m really happy she is there but I was really happy to see her say, “Thanks guys for this but also you should know your basic facts about me.”

Lindsay: The thing is, like shaming can work, not always. It’s not 100%. I mean, look at who we have as president, it doesn’t work on everyone but it does … You have to keep being fearless. When I was talking to Elena Delle Donne and I think this was on our interview that was on this show two weeks ago. And she kind of said like, “Female athletes don’t get the privilege right now of just being athletes. We also have to be advocates for ourselves and for others at every step of the way.” And I think it’s kind of up to all of us and I really think that’s got to start at the top, but then you need, as Jess was saying, you need on these local grassroots levels the owners and the coaches to really be taking the initiative, to getting out within these communities and building that culture.

You have to have it built from the grassroots level and from the top, and then hopefully, we’re going to meet in the middle somewhere really special. Right now, one of the tough things in the WNBA is there is so much talent in this league. If you look at the players getting cut, it’s just mind buckling. You only have 140 roster spots. There’s definitely enough talent to do at least two more expansion teams I would say but there’s fear that you’re not going to be able to build that market. So, we’ve got to be better at this because you want to make sure that the talent doesn’t get wasted because that’s just going to take us backwards.

Oh, okay. Let’s do a quick round of, “If I were commissioner.” Shireen, what’s the one thing, if you took over women’s sports for a week, what will be the first thing on your agenda to do?

Shireen: Wow. All under the guise of smashing toxic patriarchy, I would increase merchandise sales and like-

Lindsay: Merchandise.

Shireen: … try to promote merchandise sales everywhere across the board, and it has been done. It can be done. Secondly, I would honestly, look at pay grades of athletes immediately and try to do what needed to be done in conjunction with looking at ticket sales. I want to reject, I would get an economist immediately. A woman economist or non-binary person to come on and help me debunk this idea that women shouldn’t be paid or non-binary athletes shouldn’t be paid because they don’t bring in money, like I need to debunk that forever ever, ever.

And there was a really good article post World Cup in Jacobin about this and I really liked it. So, I would do those things. And I’m not very money minded but with women’s sports, for me, it really gets back to the idea of parity in terms of pay and remuneration that’s acceptable and necessary at this point. So that’s what I would do. And I would also offer halal hotdogs in all the stadiums. That’s just a personal thing.

Lindsay: That might be number one. That might be the first thing

Shireen: Yeah, but that could be number one.

Jessica: Yeah, I was thinking merchandise as well. I think that’s always such a frustrating thing with women’s sport is like you literally can’t dress yourself in the way that you would want to as a fan and it always feels very frustrating. That’s a WNBA problem that they seem to continually have up until this exact moments with their uniform switch from Adidas to Nike.

I think the other thing, I’m always sort of thinking about media. It’s really hard to get outside of that fray work for me and I would just … We need to figure out some kind of campaign to get these women … And Elena Delle Donne talked about this on our podcast two weeks ago, as people and not just as players. We’re so good at that with men. We’re so good at rounding them out, and seeing them off the court, and giving them a lot of space to be people and we’re so bad at that with women. I don’t have the answer of how exactly to do that but I feel like there needs to be a push for that much more than we have right now.

Lindsay: Yeah. I agree with that. I too think from a media standpoint and I think you’ve got up your accessibility. Sometimes it can be a lot more, a lot easier to get a hold of these women than it is for some of the men’s leagues but at the same time, it’s still a stretch. A lot of these PR people don’t get back you.

Jessica: Yeah, it can be hard.

Lindsay: It’s so hard. It can be so hard and look, I get it and I know that a lot of this is like the athletes do want to just be athletes sometimes don’t want to all this press but I don’t care. They’re going to have to do more. Everyone’s going to have to do a little bit more press. You’ve got to be pitching these athletes. I need for these PR people who are running the teams to be pitching stories to people, to be getting these women out there, to be arranging things. You need to make it a little bit easier for media because you know right now, a lot of media is doing this.

A lot of media right now are having to push their bosses to do this or doing it in their own time for their own independent outlets. That’s just the reality. So make it easier for them to do it. Open up practices more often. Have more availability for players as far as locker room time, one-on-one time, time for podcast. Get more things out there on social media about these players personalities and I just feel like the more we can open this up, the better things are going to be. Okay. It is burn pile time. Shireen can you get it started?

Shireen: Oh, I’ve been waiting to burn this. So, as we know from the news, the United States moved to the American Embassy to Jerusalem and had been protests and senseless deaths, murders of Palestinians but what was really enraging to me in particular is Beitar Jerusalem, a team based in Israel that’s notorious for their anti-Arab sentiment actually renamed themselves after Trump, and I quote, “President Trump …” and this is coming from the club, “President Trump has shown courage and true love of the Israeli people in their capital and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status. The chairman of the club and the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add the club’s title, the name of the American president who made history, and from now on the club will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem.”

So, to give you an indication about how gross that is, I actually managed to say all that without throwing up, it’s just an indication of the politics and mentality of that team and how … Tom Levitt, my friend at the Guardian, wrote a piece for this for BBC and Dave Zirin wrote a piece about this as well this week but it’s actually bringing everything into perspective because for those who conveniently say sports aren’t political, but then sports are absolutely used for politics and politicking. So, this is gross all of it and I will puke. So, let’s just burn it.

Lindsay: Burn.

Jessica: Burn.

Lindsay: All right. I’d like to burn Florida Atlantic University. This burn pile comes from friend and fellow flamethrower, Kenny Jacoby, over at the Palm Beach Post. And he reported that, “Florida Atlantic University reported false numbers to the government exaggerating how many women played for its sports teams just a year after it ranked among the worst in the country for female representation in sports.”

Jessica: Wow.

Lindsay: So, in 2016, women represented more than half of the school’s enrollment but only 31% of its athletes, that percentage was the lowest of the 127 schools that were participating in the highest level of college sports. Just one year later, it claimed it had magically erased its female participation gap and it told the US Department of Education 2016, that 51% of its athletes were women. Well, can you guess what, that wasn’t true. They literally made women on these reports that are claiming it’s just a clerical.

Jessica: Of course. Of course.

Lindsay: So, yeah, this is just absolutely enraging and great reporting by Kenny to bring this up because you just got through that on the burn pile. Burn.

Jessica: Burn.

Shireen: Burn.

Jessica: Isn’t FAU where Lane Kiffin is coach of the football team?

Lindsay: Is it? It might.

Jessica: I am actually going to Google that as we sit here. Hold on.

Lindsay: Yeah, we should know that .

Jessica: Florida Atlantic University, Lane Kiffin, and he’s got Briles’ son as his offensive coordinator there. So we wonder where … Where is the money going in the FAU Athletics Department that they don’t have to be making up women athletes? Okay. Sorry.

Lindsay: Jess, what are you burning today?

Jessica: Yeah. So, earlier this week, the Salt Lake Tribune announced that they’re going to cut 34 employees from a newsroom staff of 90. So, that’s more than a third of their newsroom. This wasn’t a result of a hedge fund being ruthless and its desire to make money, like we’ve seen at other local papers. Instead, it’s a local wealthy owner of the paper saying he was responding to sharp declines, and print circulation, and advertising revenues. Part of this burn is to simply lament the loss of so many local reporters throughout the country as papers continue to slash their newsrooms.

This absolutely has an effect on sports coverage especially lesser covered sports, say women’s sports, which will now never have a chance of being covered, since sports desk will scramble to make sure the big ones, by which, of course, I mean men’s pro and some college sports still have dedicated coverage but more specifically, it’s about the Salt Lake Tribune. I wanted to mention, they had remarkable coverage of campus sexual assault in 2016 that earned them the Pulitzer in 2017. I mean, we are talking like relentless reporting, week, after week, after week, for months of that year about campus sexual assault.

This was mainly a team of incredible female investigative reporters that not only shed light on terrible policies at Brigham Young University but also revealed the way that Utah State University had failed students to report a gender violence, and a lot of that work about Utah State stemmed from a case involving a football player. After winning the Pulitzer, the managing editor of the paper, Sheila McCain said, “Our size meant this took commitment from many staffers and I’m so grateful to work in such a talented collaborative newsroom. I hope this recognition for our staff is inspiring to other newsrooms our size.”

Some of those staffers from the Pulitzer team had already left the paper well before these cuts and I know that some of the team just survived the cuts. But even if the whole team was still there, the fact that they lost a third of their staff means this kind of dog and collaborative investigative reporting about very tough topics that question these powerful local institutions that often intersect with fan loved sports that’s going to be harder than ever to do. So, please, support your local news because I’m so bummed out about all this news of the shrinking staffs and especially, about the Salt Lake Tribune. Burn it.

Lindsay: Burn.

Shireen: Burn.

Lindsay: All right. After all that burning, it is time to lift up some amazing incredible women. First of all, I want to give a shout out to WNBA president Lisa Borders who publicly announced support for Planned Parenthood after the man who runs this country decided to announce that he was going to defund the organization. So, it’s amazing to have leaders like Lisa. That is incredible.

Then I want to shout out Francoise Abanda, the top female player in Canada who publicly stated that it is racism that prevents her from getting attention. She’s a tennis player, I would like to clarify. Also, Toyo Ajibolade, the 21-year-old basketball player who is getting the YWCA Toronto young women award of distinction for her work in community engagement and youth empowerment. We have Mariam Nasim, an Australian weightlifter originally from Pakistan who won bronze at the competition in Melbourne after a back injury. And we have Tim China who won the International Table Tennis Federation finals that were held in Sweden.

We have the Chelsea ladies FC who won the 2017 and 2018 WSL and FA Cup titles. We also want to congratulate Emma Hayes, the manager of the Chelsea Ladies FC for having a healthy baby boy. Elina Svitolina a tennis player who just won the title in Rome. We have to give her shout out. The French Open is coming up very soon, we are excited to talk about that here. And okay, deep breaths, that was a lot. Can we get his drumroll, please?

Our winner is Layshia Clarendon, WNBA all-star and former guest here at burn it all down. In January, Clarendon filed a lawsuit the claim that Mohamed Muqtar a long time athletic department employee of the University California invited her to his house when she was an 18-year-old basketball players, walked in while she was using the bathroom and abused her. And this week, it was announced that Muqtar was fired after a Title IX investigation that was spurred solely because of Clarendon lawsuit, and the lawsuit conclude they had violated the university sexual harassment policy. And altogether, seven other women came forward with claims of sexual abuse by Muqtar dating back nearly 20 years. So, Layshia advocacy and willingness to step up saved other women from harm and helped bring about justice. So, congratulations, Layshia. Thank you.

Lindsay: Okay, friends, another week. Anything good? Jess?

Jessica: Yeah. I have multiple things that are good. So, if you know me at all, you know that I love romance novels and I wanted to tell you all about one that I read this week that is perfect. It’s a perfect novel. It’s called Want to Bet? by Talia Hobart. I want everyone to read it so I can talk to everyone about it. It’s like no word in that book is wasted. It is just lovely. She did such a good job and so now, I’m just reading everything she’s ever written and I like all of it, but Want to Bet? it’s so good.

And the other thing I wanted to mention is that, I have always loved putting together puzzles and I just stopped for a long time and this last week I put together 1,000-piece puzzle and it was so meditative, and cathartic, and I just … I don’t know. I just enjoy that process and at the end, I love to run my hand over the finished product and just feel all that work and that’s just been very lovely this week.

Shireen: That’s amazing. Congrats.

Lindsay: Shireen?

Shireen: Okay. So, I want to start off by saying I want to decolonize and I’m not a fan of the monarchy, or in the world wedding, or whatever but it was really, really, really hard not to fall in love with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the young black cellist who completely wowed everybody at the wedding. I am a former cellist and I have always loved that instrument. I haven’t played for eight years, gave it up for rugby, but that’s a different story, and I love it. I’ve always connected and it was beautiful because, in my time, there was definitely no prominent black cellists or South Asian for that matter. So, to see this young man being lauded rightly so in such a way brings me so much joy.

So, I was really happy about that. I’ve been watching the performances of the choir, which was incredible and their rendition of Stand By Me, and also just the black excellence at that wedding, which in my lifetime, I didn’t think I would see. Speaking of royal weddings, my best friend Catherine is getting married in August, in Nova Scotia, and I’m very, very excited. I am so excited because I’m her bridesmaid and I will make her wedding about me because I’ve been waiting 25 years to be a bridesmaid and I know what I’m wearing and I’m very excited, spoiler.

Lindsay: Please don’t wear.

Shireen: Okay. I know what I’m wearing and I’m excited. I will be wearing my Birkenstocks and I okayed that with her and she’s okay with that. And I was Canada this weekend, there is a long weekend and I talk about like, “I don’t like the monarchy but here I am enjoying the birthday of Queen Victoria,” who’s dead but we’re still enjoying the benefits of having a long weekend because it was her birthday. So, in which time, I will be consoling my mom because I think Winnipeg Jets are out of the playoffs, so she’s a bit sad. Anyways, that’s what’s good.

Lindsay: That’s incredible. Well, I have to say, the second we finished this podcast, first walking the dogs and drying my hair but then, going straight to the Capital One Arena for the Washington Mystics game. So, the WNBA season starts. There are two games. I’ll have another one on Tuesday night to cover for the Mystics. So, I’m super excited than the WNBA season is back. I just love going to these games. And then, I have to brag a little bit…

Jessica: Go ahead.

Lindsay: hastag humblebrag. I got a very exciting follow on Twitter this week. Wade Phillips the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams. And if you do not follow Wade Phillips on Twitter, he’s in the 70s and he’s like this big … He’s just this big guy, big football guy but his Twitter is just this like gem of a place and he has recently discovered bitmojis, which I don’t know if you all know what bitmojis are. But they’re the cartoon version of yourself that you can … There’s like an app and you create a cartoon version of yourself and you can wear … You put different clothes on yourselves and do different expressions. They were really big about like six years ago maybe, maybe three.

Anyways, Wade Phillips has recently discovered them and if you look back, he’s got one. There’s one with him. He’s got earrings of both of his ears in his bitmoji and there’s one with him giving thumbs up in a Celtics jersey. And then the next one, there’s one with him giving thumbs up in a Cavs jersey, and the text of the tweets are just Celtics for one. And then the next one is in Cavs. He then had to clarify. In the next one, he said, “Still a Laker fan,” and that bid emoji is Wade Phillips wearing the Lakers Jersey with his hands up in the air in a very multicolored whoo ooh with you across the thing.

Shireen: Oh my gosh.

Lindsay: And then the next day, it gets so much better. So, the next day, May 17th, he tweet out two more bitmojis. One which was him looking to the right and yelling the word “Yanny,” and the next tweet was him looking to the left and yelling “Laurel.”

Jessica: Oh my gosh.

Lindsay: And so, I tweeted about my joy for this and then he followed me, and I am one of only 126 people he is following, and I just never been happier. So, thank you, Wade, for your joy. And he also has lots of good puns and things. So his Twitter is @sonofbum because his father was Bum Phillips. He was a legendary football coach. So sonofbum is a wonderful Twitter handle as well. So, that’s my what’s good.

Okay. Thank you all so much for being with us for another week. You can follow us all on Twitter @BurnItDownPod. Find us on Facebook, Burn It All Down. Find this on Instagram, what’s our Instagram handle, Shireen?

Shireen: @burnitalldownpod.

Lindsay: Thank you. I should know that. that’s also our website as well and really our Patreon is, we’re developing new and fun things for, so keep an eye on our Patreon. Please, support us. We’re trying to make it to our next goal which is $1200 per month, which will allow us to bring in a little bit more help to make things a little bit easier each week and help us grow our audience. Thanks again.

Shelby Weldon