Episode 73: the NWSL final, Russia and doping, pay equity in sports, and the FIBA Women’s World Cup
On this week’s show, Brenda, Shireen, Lindsay, and Jessica talk about the NWSL final (10:23) before discussing doping, doping, doping, and Russia, and doping (24:36). Lindsay interviews Mechelle Voepel about the FIBA Women’s World Cup (38:49) and then the gang talks pay equity in sports (52:30).
Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile (1:01:20), our Bad Ass Woman of the Week , starring the North Carolina Courage (1:03:19), and what is good in our worlds (1:07:43).
For links and a transcript…
“Jessica McDonald comes up big in Portland, named Championship MVP” http://www.nwslsoccer.com/news/#jessica-mcdonald-comes-up-big-in-portland-named-championship-mvp
“Russian anti-doping program reinstated despite failing to meet key guidelines” https://thinkprogress.org/wada-recertifies-russia-doping-34d6696334f3/
“World Sports Agency Reinstates Russia After Doping Scandal” https://www.npr.org/2018/09/20/649941450/world-sports-agency-reinstates-russia-after-doping-scandal
“‘Triumph for money over clean sport’: ex-Wada head criticises Russia decision” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/21/wada-head-russia-reinstatement-triumph-money-over-clean-sport
“Legend Michael Phelps Slams WADA for Lifting Russia Doping Ban” https://www.news18.com/news/sports/legend-michael-phelps-slams-wada-for-lifting-russia-doping-ban-1885067.html
The Anti-Doping Crisis in Sport https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781134809998
“Pay WNBA Players What They Deserve” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-wnba-equal-pay_us_5ba0f35ae4b046313fbf897b
“Why substantially increasing WNBA player salaries is more complex than you think” http://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/24247429/why-increasing-wnba-player-salaries-more-complex-think
“Facts About Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination” https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-epa.cfm
“Data: How does the U.S. women’s soccer team pay compare to the men?” https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/data-how-does-the-u-s-womens-soccer-team-pay-compare-to-the-men
“Juventus star Emre Can apologised for sparking sexism storm after questioning Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card against Valencia” https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/7306004/juventus-emre-can-sexism-cristiano-ronaldo-red-card/
“Exclusive: Inside the Corrosive Workplace Culture of the Dallas Mavericks” https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/20/dallas-mavericks-sexual-misconduct-investigation-mark-cuban-response
“National reaction to Mavs investigation: ESPN’s Rachel Nichols grills Mark Cuban; was NBA penalty harsh enough?” https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-mavericks/mavericks/2018/09/19/national-reaction-mavs-investigation-espns-rachel-nichols-grills-mark-cuban-nba-penalty-harsh-enough
“The Report On Jordan McNair’s Death Confirms It Was Entirely Preventable” https://deadspin.com/the-report-on-jordan-mcnairs-death-confirms-it-was-enti-1829244594
“Houston-area superintendent resigns after racist remarks about Texans’ Deshaun Watson” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/09/22/texas-superintendent-who-disparaged-deshaun-watson-black-quarterback-resigns/
“Sarah Robles Breaks 13 Year Old American Weightlifting Clean & Jerk Record” https://barbend.com/sarah-robles-ao3/
“Alba Palacios, primera futbolista transgénero de España” http://www.marca.com/futbol/futbol-femenino/2018/09/16/5b9d531ee2704e11a98b4665.html
“Kelsey Martinez breaks ground as Raiders’ first female assistant coach” https://www.sfgate.com/raiders/article/Kelsey-Martinez-breaks-ground-as-Raiders-first-13231183.php
“NC Courage Beats Portland Thorns FC, Wins First-Ever NWSL Championship” https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/09/22/nc-courage-first-nwsl-championship-portland-thorns-fc
Brenda: Hello and welcome, to Burn It All Down. It may not be the feminist sports podcast you want, but it is the feminist sports podcast you need.
I’m Brenda Elsey, associate professor of history at Hofstra University in New York, and I’m joined today by Shireen Ahmed, freelance sports writer, and force of nature in Toronto, Canada. The brilliant Lindsay Gibbs, sports writer at ThinkProgress in DC, and Jessica Luther, independent writer, and smarty pants in Austin, Texas.
Before we begin, I want to shout out our Patreons for their generous support, and remind listeners that if you become a patreon, and sponsor this podcast for as little as $2 monthly, you can get access to extra segments, the newsletter, and other exclusive content. Thank you. Thank you to the Patreon community, and a quick reminder that we now have merchandise. Check out teespring.com\stores\burn-it-all-down with a bunch of dashes in between. We’ve got it on our twitter. We are so grateful for your support, listens and comments on the pod.
This week, we’re going to talk doping in Russia, pay equity in sports, and beyond. Lindsey interviews Michelle Voepel about the FIBA Women’s World Cup. We’ll burn some of the trash in sports this week, and celebrate some bad ass women.
But before all that, I want to chat a bit about the NWSL final that took place this week between the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage. I’m going to guess … Control yourself. I’m going to guess that on Burn It All Down we might have different favorites here. We might not be feeling the same feelings, about that particular final, but given that she is a hometown, I will start with Lindsay who is already welping.
Brenda: What did you think?
Lindsay: Any day that the state of North Carolina wins a championship, as long as it doesn’t come from Duke, it’s a good day. So, having the North Carolina Courage win was phenomenal. They just, three nothing, like shut out. It was dominant, and it was really, after seeing them lose in such a physical battle last year, it was really incredible to watch it all come together.
I mean, Jessica McDonald was ridiculously good. And, her story is so incredible. I mean, she’s, a mother six years ago, she kind of had to restart her career or completely, after everything. She’s been on I think six different NWSL teams, and like six different years, and she’s just really kind of been all around the league, and so to see her really bring it together in North Carolina and on this big stage to win the MVP award, which was very deserving, she scored two of the goals and, look, yeah, it was just great to see.
I would love to see a little bit more support. It was unfortunate. I know we … we had a hot take Brenda did about the semifinals, and one of the things there I was talking about how, the semifinal didn’t get to be played in North Carolina, because of Hurricane Florence. That was a really big blow to the … Obviously there’re more important things to worry about with the hurricane. But, it was still, I think it was a really big blow to the franchise, because everyone had been really looking forward to hosting that game. It was going to be really big moneymaker for the team. It was going to really help the team, kind of fund a lot of things going forward. I think like the team is still really, the owners are really upset about that still, but this will hopefully be able to drive interest. I’m hoping it’s getting a lot of good local coverage which will help drive interest for next year.
Brenda: Well, and probably we should also talk about just the attendance, which was amazing. It was. what? 22,000? The largest ever for a final’s audience of a professional women’s professional league soccer final, think I’ve got that right. Because, of course, the US women’s national team draws much higher than that, but this was a very big, and a very boisterous crowd, and also one that was very aggressively pissed at North Carolina. Shireen?
Shireen: I just wanted to say, the match itself was incredible in terms of physicality. North Carolina dominated. I am very, very clearly a Portland’s fan. I’ve always been, and not just because of Nadim, but Amandine Henry, Steph Cately, Nadine Angerer is like one of my favorite goalkeepers ever, she’s a goalkeeping coach.
I think that, you know, Portland is legendary and of course, above and beyond, Captain Christine Sinclair, who even to the end of the second half was pushing and pushing and pushing, and just they couldn’t finish. Other than the obvious defensive breakdowns that were happening for Portland, which is they have a pretty stock team, and a lot of people don’t know this. But, out of the 11 best of the NWSL, eight were on the pitch last night in this final. That’s how good these two teams are now.
The Riveters, like the Rose City Riveters who were the supporting team for Portland, are the best fans in the world, in my opinion, other than the Celtics in Scotland of the football league. So, they are dedicated. They gave their team a standing ovation, even though they did not win the final. They were booing Hinkle, and there’s obvious reasons for that.
Jules, our friend of the show, Jules Boykoff tweeted out why. I think that it’s a mix of a lot of things. It’s not done. I mean Rose City Riveters our group that are unbelievably inclusive, they’re unbelievably fair. Yeah, and I mean they weren’t booing, because like the match wasn’t going well or they were frustrated. In fact, they stayed. None of them, very, very few of the supporters actually left the match, while it was happening. They stayed to the end, even though the score was three nil, so I mean that’s a pretty … And, it was two nothing in the first half. So, you’ve got dedicated fans like that.
I’m obviously going to defend, and honestly I tweeted out, it felt a little, this whole thing felt a little bit like Canada getting silver in the Olympics for me. It was a little bit hard, but that’s okay. It’s okay. I mean, Christine Sinclair is my prime minister, and I love her, and it was hard to watch. I mean, this was obviously North Carolina’s moment. They shone, they were relentless, and they’re attacking, they’re finishing.
Two of the goals were headers, so it was just incredible, and Jess McDonald, just relentless. Lynn Williams up in the front, not giving up at all. It was just the attack, the way they had to. It was perfect.
I felt bad for Adriana Franch, because I think she got injured in the second half and wouldn’t come off. But for me, it wasn’t the result I would have loved, but I’m happy because women’s soccer, Yay. Also, Crystal Dunn diving and pretending that Tobin Heath … It was the funniest moment ever and good on Crystal Dunn, and a lot of these players are actually US national teammates. They don’t care. They’re going to go after this with a thirst, and a hunger that they deserve.
I also really hope for the US women’s national team, Jess McDonald is the anomaly of what usually comes up in the process. I really hope she’s considered, because this player is phenomenal. She works well with her teammates, and I would love to see what a US training camp, but she doesn’t fit the model of what US soccer looks like. Unfortunately, the national team level, in my opinion. I really hope they reconsider that, because it’s Sharon Vaughn apps wrote, in 2016, soccer is very much a white girl sport in the US.
Jessica: Yeah, totally. I wanted to … The Courage were amazing, and so much credit to them, but also credit to the Thorns, because it was an exciting match even to the end, even though they were losing, and clearly going to lose. They kept up the energy. I just wanted to very quickly give a shout out, to the North Carolina Courage fan, in the stands who had a sign that said, “Pride of North Carolina.” The pride was rainbow, and I just thought, every time they showed that person on TV, I was just, thumbs up, guy. So, I just wanted to give a shout out to that person.
Brenda: Yay. Totally deserving. I’m sure we’ll continue to talk more, obviously. Jessica McDonald did have also a religious message on her shirt, so there was a lot of booing of Hinkle. I think mostly we’ve talked about that a lot on the pod, but going forward it will be interesting to see how in this particular league, there are several outspoken players. The Courage, who have expressed the pitch as a place, to express their religious beliefs.
Lindsay: But, just really quickly, Jess McDonald has been very outspoken for equality, and for pride. So, I don’t …
Brenda: Well, it is also really defended Hinkle, she came out very … I understand what you’re saying, but she was very, she was the teammate that came out to defend Hinkle all after the 700 cCub.
Lindsay: I mean, they’re are longtime friends, and I-
I get it, but I just, I don’t know that … She’s always been very outspoken, and she wears all the pride jerseys, so it’s a tough conversation to have.
Brenda: But, it’s an interesting one. I’m just saying it provokes, It’ll keep generating a certain- There’s a really interesting sort of light that, illuminates from this rivalry. It’s like an energy that’s really interesting and developing and unfolding,
Shireen: I just wanted to add that I thought this was really interesting, because Jess McDonald had a shirt that said, “Jesus paid it all.” And, it couldn’t help, but bring me back to when I remember FIFA banning Hijab, because they didn’t want religion on the pitch. I think this is something we should always keep in mind when we’re discussing these kinds of things.
Brenda: Okay. On that note, means that we’ll definitely return to this, but I am sad to see the NWSL season come to a close, but let’s move on.
Doping, doping, doping, and Russia, and doping. Jessica, do you want to give us an update on what’s new this week?
Jessica: Yeah. This last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA, decided to lift the ban on Russia’s anti-doping program RUSADA. So, RUSADA had been suspended back in 2015. And, here’s how Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director, and whistleblower, who exposed Russia’s state sponsored doping system, explained, why they had been suspended. A USA Today Op-Ed last week, “The Russian anti-doping agency was first suspended in November 2015 following the release of the pound report. WADA’s independent investigation into widespread doping in Russian athletics. The Pound Report brought to light, my country state sponsored doping program to the world, revealing a labyrinth of cover-ups, and sampled manipulation. The report also proved that doping-free competition, and the protection of clean athletes, both cornerstones to WADA’s mission, we’re deliberately ignored.”
In 2018, after deliberating on an even more damning report about RUSADA from 2016, The McLaren report. Just before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee from the Olympics, and did not allow Russia to compete as a team.
We talked about this on the podcast at the time. The IOC, ever spineless, re-instated Russia three days after the Olympics ended. Okay, then. So, WADA’s decision last week has angered a lot of people across the sports world, including the US anti-doping agency. Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps, and Rodchenkov, who called the possible reinstatement of RUSADA, “A catastrophe for clean sport.”
There’s one really important thing to understand about this WADA decision. It has very little to do with anti-doping efforts. This is clear, because Russia was supposed to meet specific requirements in order to be reinstated, and did not meet some of those, and was granted reinstatement anyway.
Here’s how our own, Lindsay Gibbs described it for ThinkProgress, earlier this week. “WADA previously set forth a roadmap to reinstatement for RUSADA, which primarily included, fully accepting the findings of the McLaren report, and opening the doors of the RUSADA Laboratory for inspection by WADA. RUSADA is currently 0-2. It didn’t matter. Last week, the BBC reported that WADA reached a compromise with RUSADA, and narrowed the scope of what RUSADA had to admit to, in terms of the McLaren report, and offered to have an independent expert examine, select samples and data from the Moscow laboratory and in lieu of full access.”
Here’s the kicker, the IOC, as part of its punishment for RUSADA, said member federations couldn’t stage events in Russia, until the country had a compliant anti-doping agency again. According to the Press Association, “One consequence of RUSADA’s reinstatement, is that WADA does not have to declare international boxing federation AIBA non-compliant, for giving it’s 2019 world championships to Sochi.”
Yay. Which leaves us with this question, what is the point of WADA? And, is there a more corrupt, and disgusting organization than the IOC? I know that they face off with FIFA for this honor, but I really just feel like the IOC is taking the crown on this. I don’t even know where to go from here. What is the point of WADA? What is anti-doping at this point?
Brenda: Yeah. I have a question, because you think about this more than I do, but why is Russia so, like they’ll get, they need Russia back at any cost. Why is that? Is it just symbolic importance?
Jessica: I think people think they’re paying. I think it’s a big money exchange kind of thing. Right? There’s like financial corruption going on. That’s what Rodchenkov kind of implied about PyeongChang — Russia coming back three days after — was that there were clearly financial reasons, that they were bending to that.
Brenda: Yeah. It just seems like it’s gotta be more than that, because a lot of countries would offer to pay leak. I was seeing the different Kenyan runners in Bahrain, and how they’re being caught with doping, and it’s very clear that they’re also paying the athletes in a sense, or it looks like perhaps increasing their bonuses if they dope, or as a reward for doping. I get the corruption, but it seems like there’s a particular kind of also … And, maybe it goes back to cold war stuff idea, the IOC just can’t function without Russia or something. It just doesn’t make the Olympic Games have the kind of magnet attraction or something. Lindsay?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think that’s what it is. It definitely goes back. It’s all connected to this kind of political world. And also, look, I think Russia likes to pay a lot of money under the table to host these events as well. So, they need to keep having people who are going to host these mega events, and keeping Russia in the fold, is good for those purposes. Look, it’s just a mess. I think you actually had the vice president of WADA, she was one of the two people who voted against this. Her name is Linda Hofstad Helleland. She’s the vice president of WADA, and she was one of the two executives to vote against WADA’s reinstatement.
I just want to read a little bit of her statement, because I think it’s important to know there are a few people fighting from within here. She said, “this is one of the most critical decisions the anti-doping community has ever been confronted with. As an organization, WADA’s number one job is to be truer to our values of fair sport. Today we made the wrong decision in protecting the integrity of sport.”
She just summed it up by saying, “Today we failed the clean athletes of the world.” Now look, all of this doping stuff can get a little morality policing to me sometimes, and it can get a little like I’m up here on my ivory … My mountain of cleanliness and perfection. But, I think I like looking at it from a systemic point of view more than anything. It’s clear that Russia uses sports as propaganda very much that they’ve been very upfront about that.
Putin wants to control the international image of Russia and to do that, they have systematic doping programs within their countries, and they like to hold these big sporting events, also because the international view of Russia after the World Cup, or after the Sochi Olympics always goes up. And, so does the national pride within Russia. So, look, this is just all connected to green propaganda. Ultimately, the people who are running these systems don’t actually care about the athletes.
Jessica: Yeah. I just wanted to piggyback off of all that great stuff that Lindsey just said, but to drive the point home that a lot of the corruption is not just at the IOC level, but at the federation level. Right? So, like boxing wants to hold their event in Sochi, and so part of the idea is that WADA’s bidding to these federations, that Russia’s probably paying off all of those people putting a lot of money into that specific part.
It’s not just the top level, right? They’re really just … The corruption is all over, which we talk about all the time. I just want to tell people, if you haven’t seen Icarus, which I believe is still a Netflix, this documentary about doping Rodchenkov, like if you want to see in action his whistle blowing. But, also they just have really, really good graphics of the extent of how Russia doped during Sochi, that like it’s mind-blowing, what they went to. So, even for someone like me who has … I have a lot of problems with the way we talk about doping and purity, and what counts is doping and, what counts as cheating, and all that sort of stuff. But as Lindsay said, the sort of systemic like the minutia, the detail that went into the doping that Russia did. There are clearly rules, and they did everything they could to break them, and they don’t have to make any kind of amends for that. It is just mind-blowing.
Brenda: I just want to plug a book, that I loved, that just came out by Paul Dimeo and Verner Moller. They’re two professors, and they wrote this book called, “The anti-doping crisis in sport causes consequences solutions.” In it, they brought up so many fascinating cases that actually don’t make the headlines, that never make the headlines. I know Russia is a different case, because we’re talking about a whole system in a whole kind of, I don’t know, huge infrastructure dedicated to cheating. But, there’s also a lot just about the anti-doping system, that evidently does punish innocent athletes.
I think one of the things that we don’t think about is, well I don’t think about, maybe other people, but the number of innocent athletes that get sort of punished for this, and the punishments are very, very dire. Years and years of suspensions, and they have this section on tainted meat. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this. Tainted meat has clenbuterol, which is a banned substance. And the IOC … It’s amazing, because it comes from cows that are fed growth hormones. All these athletes that take trips to Mexico for example, come back and immediately test positive, like the entire U17 German soccer team.
It’s fascinating. It’s absolutely fascinating. I just think it’s interesting to look like these crises come up, and then like you say, what is WADA for, and what is it doing? Then, there’s a whole other arm of it that we never even hear about, these individual cases where they try very hard to control substances that we’re finding in all kinds of places. Athletes that don’t have this infrastructure are more likely according to this book, to actually get picked up for doping, because they’re not watching themselves. They’re not like analyzing their pee, blood, or whatever. It was really good.
They have a lot of constructive ideas about how to fix the system, like including having doctors that are accredited by WADA, and then the suspensions go on WADA accredited doctors, and not on the athletes if there’s discrepancies. It’s called the Anti doping crisis in sport. It just came out. Causes, consequences, solutions. Paul Dimeo has been working on this, like for super long time. The other guy’s Verner Moller, and they’re just sort of, I mean not only do they question, what is it for? And, what are these big infrastructures? But, they’re kind of working on these cases that we never hear about in the doping system. It’s just kind of fascinating to think about Russia with this whole kind of machine setup, and then how it’s different in terms of that.
Brenda: Jessica, how does this make you think about Serena? I mean, because the other doping scandals are when individual athletes feel as though they’re being, I don’t know, spotlighted, persecuted by testing. Do you think like if you look at the whole doping infrastructure, anti-doping campaigns, do you think that there’s a way to avoid that, or is that just going to be part of the system?
Jessica: That’s a great question. I’m not sure how you change it. There is something to the way that they … the better you are, the more you get tested, right? And, they do try to do a randomness to it. I don’t know, Lindsay, you probably have thoughts.
Lindsay: Yeah. Well I mean there was a lot of misreporting, and irresponsible reporting about the mount that Serena was drug tested earlier this year. She is certainly not always been treated fairly, but there was I think a piece on Deadspin, and a lot of other people ran with this saying, that she had been tested multiple times more than other people, when in reality they were comparing her doping test like Maria Sharapova, when in reality they were looking at the USA’s doping association, which of course does not test Maria Sharapova, because she’s within the Russians federation.
We all have to take a deep breath before talking about any of this stuff, because there has to be some degree of, if you’ve been out for a long time, and come back, and are winning at crazy rates, you should maybe get a couple more tests on of competition or something.
Serena falls in all these categories. But, of course there’s also obviously a racial component to the way we’ve talked about Serena for so many years. Whereas Serena has been accused of doping in a very colloquial, and casual manner by people throughout the sports and media world.
I think it’s tough, because when you do look at individual athletes, the way we talk about them. I mean, let’s talk about Caster Semenya. Do you know what I mean? The way we target athletes, especially black women who had big, or more muscular bodies naturally is unfair. But, everyone also has to … There has to be some sort of … It doesn’t help anyone.
Lindsay: I got really frustrated about the Serena conversation earlier this year, because it’s so easy to … There are so many legitimate things to complain about. Do you know what I mean? Like with the way Serena is treated, that we don’t need to be making things up by inventing data.
Brenda: We definitely don’t want to invent data that usually doesn’t work well. Okay, well we’ll keep an eye on this story.
Now we’ll hear an interview between Lindsey and Mechelle Voepel about the FIBA women’s World Cup.
Lindsay: Hello everyone. I am here with the wonderful Mechelle Voepel, ESPN’s women’s basketball expert extraordinare, and we’re going to talk about the FIFA women’s World Championship World Cup. It is both, I believe, and it, we’ve had about two days to recover from the WNBA final. So, it’s time to gear up for something else. Right Mechelle?
Mechelle: Yeah, turned around real quickly.
Lindsay: Yeah, really, really quickly. But anyways, so we got 16 teams here in this tournament. They start group play, and then will be, something that always confuses me, which is a quarter final challenger thing, where the second and the third teams from each group play for a spot in the quarterfinals, and then the first seed automatically advances, and then from there it’s a pretty straight knockout tournament. Quarterfinals, semifinals, final. Let’s start with team USA here at home. We have a 12-person roster. Were there any surprises for you in that selection?
Mechelle: You know, this is a different year, in that we had a lot of big names that didn’t, that aren’t playing in it. It sort of took themselves out of contention and some of those, it was … There’s some older players like Seimone Augustus, who I think have aged out at this point, but then a player like Maya Moore who you is still just 29. I talked to her earlier this week was just exhausted, and worn down from this season. Because, of that … Then, you even look at, for instance, like a Skylar Diggins-Smith, or a Chelsea Gray, both of them sort of took themselves out for that same reason, trying to heal, and also fatigue. And then Angel McCoughtry also a stalwart with the team USA, who had an ACL injury. So, all of that of course is sort of the background of why we get a team that has five really true new commerce for one of these two major competitions. The World Cup or the Olympics.
Maybe Morgan Tuck, I think was sort of a surprise to some people, to make this team not because she doesn’t deserve to be there, but that might’ve been one of the surprises. Making the team over say somebody like an Elizabeth Williams who was right at the end, a cut on this team. Maybe Kelsey Plum I think might surprise some people, that made the team. But again, it’s because some of the names we probably at the beginning of the season thought, oh yeah, this player will be on the roster, they’re not on the roster.
Lindsay: So look, the USA is favorites. We’re not going out on a limb to say that. They didn’t look as in sync as they have historically during kind of these friendlies, because they were all just coming off such a grueling season, and they are getting to know each other. Dawn Staley still coming into her own, as the coach here. There could be some potentials for an upset, if there is. Let’s talk about a few of the teams that could possibly get that upset. Number one has to be for me, Australia, because of Liz Cambage. Of course, they had a Leilani Mitchell ended up getting injured, and was not able to play for them, which is going to be a really big downside. But, do you think that Lauren Jackson came out? She thinks they can win gold. What do you think, Mechelle?
Mechelle: Well, I think probably Lauren figures like, what’s there to lose, right? It’s like the easiest thing in the world is to pick the USA women to win an international competition. But, they’re concerned probably … It’s a play maker spot. That is a concern with Leilani being hurt, having a little less experience there. But, you’re right. I mean talent wise, they have a lot of it, you know, they have five players now I believe on the, on the roster. And then on the final roster who played in the WNBA this season.
I’m assuming now Stephanie Talbert, is completely back from. She had the concussion. It kept her out, but she’s back. And, we saw what an incredible player Liz Cambage was this year, obviously strong, strong candidate for MVP, which Brianna Stewart won, but Liz was right there. You would think that could potentially be a tough game for the Americans if it happened. But, the American strength is still in that, in that guard position with our two grandmas. Right? It’s Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. That’s an area, that is still probably going to a big strength for the Americans even, you know, the Australians have a lot of talent.
Lindsay: Yeah. Lots going to come down to Sammy who of course played so well during the final, and during the playoffs. I think she could have a really big tournament, seizing off of that momentum and taking … I’m sure she’s going to get a lot of the minutes, and of course they have the coaching. I don’t want to say when, but they’ve got sandy Brondello leading the way. So, never count her out.
Then, Canada has got some new comers. Of course, we have burned it all down guest and favorite, Kia Nurse. They are leading the way. Natalie Achonwa. They had a big injury with Alexander, not being able to come. That was really disappointing. But do you think that Can has a chance for a medal here?
Mechelle: You know, I think it is possible, just because this is a country that has really progressed a lot in women’s basketball, in the time that I’ve been covering the sport, and even in the last decade or so. When you have like a Natalie Achonwa, and a Kia Nurse, players who are very good, WNBA players, I do think that they have a chance, and I like their spirit.
That’s one thing you like about the Canadian team, they’re a young group. I mean, all these teams are relatively young. They are a young group and they just have that kind of, you know how, Lindsay, like with a Canadian soccer team, they had that moxie, the women’s soccer team.
Lindsay: Totally, totally.
Mechelle: I kind of think of it the same way, and definitely with Kia and Natalie, with their college backgrounds, coming from these premier programs that they do with Yukon and Notre Dame, they don’t go into games feeling like big underdogs, even if they are big underdogs. So, that’s kind of cool about team candidate. I think they’re the team that a lot of us are really looking forward to watching throughout this tournament.
Lindsay: There are two other big European teams, I think some of our listeners might not know as much about, and that includes me. What do you know about Spain and France? Spain being of course being the home team, what chances do they have to make a big splash?
Mechelle: I think one of the things that really stands out to me with Spain, is that this is a country that’s really improved it’s women’s national teams, not just in basketball, though it’s definitely in basketball, but also in soccer, and golf for instance, how many more Spaniards we’ve seen. It’s nice to see, because that means there’s been investment in girls’ and women’s sports in Spain, which there were obstacles, which I’m sure you have covered on other podcasts about certain countries in the machismo in certain countries, and overcoming things, and it was one of those countries.
I always enjoy seeing the Spaniards continue to do better. They were the runners up last time. They played very well against the United States for a lot of that game, and the gold medal game back in 2014. So, that’s a team also that has two in particular players who I think that the WNBA fans would recognize, in Marta Xargay, Anna Cruz. And, Anna in particular, won a WNBA title with the Lynx.
They have that experience, and they also like France, there a team that has played a lot together. It’s the exact opposite, which I think, most of us who follow this know, but you always have to reiterate it. The US has the least preparation time, and then teams like France and Spain have the most preparation time. I think France is another … That’s a country where their professional league has made big strides, and there’s some more WNBA players I think trying to play in that league now.
The time spent together, that cohesion, that can come into play, and it happened, and now this is a while ago, right? We have to bring it up. Back in 2006, which is the last time the USA lost. They’ve lost to Russia in the semifinals, and there was a lot to that. Then, that Russia team was very cohesive. They had played together a lot. They kept gaining confidence throughout that game, and USA never kind of got over the hump in that game.
Lindsay: Now admittedly, that’s a dozen years ago.
Mechelle: I think the other countries look, they still look to, how did this happen before, and how do we do it? And, part of doing it is having that cohesion, and that experience with each other.
Lindsay: Absolutely. Let’s look really quickly at a few other storylines. Of course, they’re what? 11 other teams here, and so it’s hard to get to all of them. I know you know I’m a … I do the cover the Washington Mystics, so I’m excited to see Emma Meesseman back in action for the Belgian team, and I know it’s … She skipped the WNBA season in order to be here for this tournament essentially. I’m really excited to see how Belgium does in this competition. What teams or are you keeping an eye out for?
Mechelle: I’m interested in China, because I think China was a team that we thought was going to take more of a step forward in the last decade, and I’m wondering if that’s gonna happen, or if we’ll see more of that. It hasn’t happened maybe as much as we expected it to, but you look for in the World Cup, is whether or not you start to see some individual stars on some of these teams.
Maybe you have a chance to develop. We have seen that a few times, and in recent years it’s … We have such a wealth of riches, I mean it’s ridiculous what we have here in the United States, and so sometimes we take for granted that having, because we have so many of them, but it’s fun sometimes to watch to see who might emerge, and if any of those players who maybe we haven’t seen yet in the WNBA kind of maybe make a move towards being in the WNBA at some point.
Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely. This is certainly, you know, players can gain so much confidence, and so much experience in tournaments like this, especially because you have the round robin, so it’s not the single elimination right off of the gates. I’m excited. So, the African teams have never won a game, a single game I believe, at the World Cup. Nigeria. So, it’s Nigeria and Senegal this year. Nigeria would have the best shot at maybe stealing a game, but they’ve had some turnover. I think their coach just left. It’s been kind of tumultuous.
Mechelle: Yeah. And I think whenever we, you know, and again to sort of reference the other sports like soccer, and even hockey, which isn’t all these same countries, it’s a different group of countries. But, we’ve watched that over the last 20, sometimes 30 years, and sometimes there’s been real strong development in other countries. I would say right now, and I could be wrong about this, but I was talking to Graham Hayes about this the other day, that maybe you know, there’s some nations really emerging in women’s soccer, that could make the next 20 years really interesting for the US national team in soccer. Because, I don’t think, you have probably talked about this before too. I don’t think we are preparing in soccer as well as we need to, and it’ll be interesting to see if that happens or anything similar to that happens in women’s basketball, because we’re not there yet.
We’re all going to be stunned, if the US doesn’t win this, even though we know it’s possible but will be stunned. But, you always have to think about when you look at some of these countries, if they are really laying a groundwork for 20 years from now. If we’re going to be looking at a different landscape, and part of the reason I say that is of course, if you were to go back 30 years, or 40 years, in a FIBA women’s world championship/World Cup history, Russia obviously, the Soviet Union/Russia, was the dominant power, even before the United States, and they’re not even in this year’s event. That’s something that’s always interesting too, from a historical perspective, is who we might be seeing, trying to lay some groundwork in that. And, I think we all want to see the sport grow in those countries. All of these countries.
Lindsay: Yeah, I completely agree. And, it is exciting. Like on the Nigerian team there, Captain Elonu was with McCoughtry out, got some time with the Atlanta Dream here, at the end of the year. So, you’re starting, the game is just becoming more and more global. The women’s game, and I think this will be another chance to kind of see that. I believe Puerto Rico is in their first World Cup, so we want to give them a shout out as well, and as someone who was at the Japan USA friendly earlier this month check out Japan from beyond the arc, they can shoot. I don’t think they can do anything in the post. They’ll probably be dominated, but they have some shooters on that team, so they’ll be fun to tune into.
Mechelle: Yeah, they definitely. And, you’re right about that. That’s such a good point, because some of these teams, they develop a skill. They know they’re not … they just don’t have the personnel, or even a sort of a historical pipeline of players at certain positions. So they try to get really, really good at certain skills, and sometimes they can really … That can be fun to watch too, because they are very good at that in Japan. That’s a good example of that with the way they were able to shoot the ball.
Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely. Well thank you so much, Mechelle. I feel much more prepared for the tournament, which is good, so by the time everyone’s listening here to this I think will be about of the quarter qualification rounds, but it should be a really fun one, so thanks Michelle.
Mechelle: Yeah, looking forward to watching it.
Brenda: Pay Equity is one of those issues that seems like it should be less controversial than it is. Given the successful endings to the NWSL and WNBA seasons, and FIFA hinting this week at increased prize money for women in the World Cup. I think it’s time we have a more in depth discussion of it. Lindsey, do you want to get us started?
Lindsay: Sure. This is such a calm topic to talk about. It doesn’t make me boil with rage at, so that’s really good. Yeah. Our good friend, and deer cohost, Jessica Luther wrote a great piece for the Huffington Post this week, that’s what it is. It’s a week called “Pay WNBA players what they deserve.” And, I think that pretty much sums it up.
Of course, what our problem is, is that, that word deserve means different things to different factions of people. Capitalism in many ways, having capitalism determine completely the market for athletes. First of all, it’s a pretty American thing. Overseas, there is a lot of very, very rich people willing to invest in athletes for other reasons, for pride, because they see the inherent value in the sports they’re participating in, because they see the value in investing in them as athletes. I’m not saying the overseas systems are perfect, but I am saying, that it makes me very mad when all these discussions about women’s pay equity starts and ends with capitalism for so many people.
Well, how much money is the WNBA making? Well, first of all, nobody knows. Which is a problem, and second of all, what if it’s making less, because we’re not investing in the sport and the athletes enough? Because they’re having to go overseas, because they’re not getting known, because they’re not becoming household names in the United States, because they’re spending eight months in other countries playing nonstop, and then when they get here for the WNBA season, they’re so burned out, that they’re not as good as they could be.
What if we’re limiting the growth of the product in that way, and not in not simply, paying them what the market says that they’re worth. I’d like to just challenge us in this conversation to take the framing a little bit away from capitalism, away from the dotted line, and let’s have this radical notion of what if we paid these female athletes what they deserve from the impact they’re having on society, and degree of talent they possess relative to other non-male athletes. Like what happens when we framed the conversation that way.?
Brenda: Shireen. You want to jump in here?
Shireen: Thanks. I think it’s always really interesting when we talk about pay equity, but we are still at a place where a lot of the female athletes, women athletes are not actually getting paid at all. Like I’m still one step behind in the sense of there are professional athletes who like just for example, the England’s Rugby Union. There are only … they come up with this big announcement, that they’re going to start offering contracts to their players, and professional players, and you’re sort of like, we’re not even at the stage, to be able to talk about pay equity, because for the longest time they’re playing haphazardly, no contracts, no legitimate signings.
They’re not backed up by the federation in that sense. There’s no contractual obligations of the organizations they play for, so like we’re not even there yet. Then you know, you have countries like Norway, that have decided and very specifically said they’re going to pay their national football team members equally, which is wonderful, but we’re still very, very much behind that. Because, I mean if we look at Denmark, that was striking. We look at the Gong show that was in Ireland, of the women that simply weren’t being … Had not even enough stipend to pay by themselves to support themselves rather, and all had different jobs on the side. Like there’s a lot to do. I mean, it’s one thing to have this conversation. It’s really important to have this conversation, but there’s so many steps that we need to take before we even get there.
Jessica: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that’s one of the struggles with even having this conversation, because then any women that do have a little bit are basically told like, “Well you got a little bit, aren’t you happy? That you have just a little bit?” Because, so many women have none. So, just take what you get. Right? So it, all of it makes the conversation so difficult, because you’re starting with misogyny, and then from there any little bit that some woman has is supposed to be like, something we celebrate and we don’t have space to even criticize that.
I want us to go back to Lindsay’s point about shifting the frame, because I do think this is huge. So David Berri, who writes for Forbes, and is one of the best. He’s an economist, he writes on the WNBA all the time, and he wrote another great piece this week, comparing the Major League Lacrosse to the WNBA, and the way that the owners and the leagues themselves actually talk, about the, I guess, product and the most, the worst words, the capitalistic words.
His whole point was, that MLL talks about this like they’re increasing pay for players, because they see that as the investment, right? And, David talks about how the WNBA seems to only think of their players as cost, and that they don’t even have a good frame themselves for talking about putting resources and money into these women as investments in the future.
One of the things that really gets me about this is I wrote about this in the piece, but at the undefeated last year I believe, Simone Augustus did an interview where she talks about going overseas, and why they do it, and they do it for money. There’re really clear, that they only have so many years to play. They’re gonna get their money when they can. But, the other point of that is she explains why they come back, to play in the WMBA.
Why do you come back for less money? And, for all the wear and tear? For the players, it’s for investment. They both see themselves as part of a legacy. All the work that the women behind them have already done, the history there. But, also as you often hear women athletes talk about when they talk about all the sacrifices, and the and the choices that they make, it’s for the future, right? And, that they’re willing to do this to invest in this.
I get really sad when the league itself doesn’t even take that framing, and they often don’t. It’s such a complicated conversation, because I totally agree with Shireen, that we have such huge issues. But yeah, I do also think these women deserve more money, and like being able to hold those two things at the same time. It’s so unfair, because so much of that … the fact that we even have to do is because misogyny. So this conversation, it’s just like ripping your hair out.
Brenda: Well, it is because we have a perfect example in US soccer, of where we can point to and say, you know what, capitalist explanations don’t work here. And, so US soccer, I’ve never understood. I know in 2016 there were five players that filed an EEOC complaint against US soccer, because of what the women’s team makes including Rapinoe and Hope Solo. I can’t remember the other three off the top of my head, but basically the pay disparity would violate all of have equal pay act, right? Because, the World Cup roster, for example, men make about approximately $76,000, for being called up their women $15,000. Qualifying for World Cup team?
The programs get two $2.5 million if you’re men and $345,000 for the women’s team. If they win the World Cup, US soccer will pays men $9.3 million. I think we should just sit there and laugh for a minute at the idea, that the US men will win the World Cup. I don’t even know why they have that.
Lindsay: Too soon, Brenda, too soon.
Brenda: No, it’s never too soon. I actually like the US men’s team too. This makes me so mad. And, women who won the World Cup actually, in real life in 2015. That program $1.8 million. So you’re looking at huge, and just to tell you about profitability, the total profit according to the US soccer here, and we’ll link this to the show notes, the women’s program profits $5.2 million.
The men’s program loses a million dollars. So, it’s like we have these great examples, where it’s like everybody, we go on twitter, all of us, and then people tweet at us shit like, Well you know, when you start pulling in fans like the men do, then start to complain.”
It’s just like, what are you doing at home with yourself right now? I mean, seriously, it’s just ridiculous, because we have a perfect model of how that’s just not true. It might be a little true, but it’s a whole lot untrue. Shireen?
Shireen: Yeah. I wrote it a piece for rewire in 2015 after the women’s World Cup. And, just to sort of cement what Brenda said, the world championships, US women’s national team received $2 million for their prize money. Now the US men’s national team got $8 million for not even getting the quarterfinals. They only reach the 16 team round, in 2014 and they’ve got four times as much for not winning anything. Like this is really mind-boggling, and at the same time we’re having a conversation about pay equity. I’m like, we’re so far behind, and I will as always blamed the federations. I will blame the way this is run. Nobody in their right mind can tell me that US women’s soccer is not popular. Like I’m sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Maybe it’s the people I’m surrounded by, but far more can name up so many on the roster of the women’s side.
I don’t even know. The only American player I know is Jozy Altidore, because he’s not Canadian yet. No, I’m exaggerating. But, honestly like when you look at the figures, and then I have all these misogynist economists coming at me going, no, the figure is this, this, this, and I’m like, no, I’m sorry. And, Jacob and magazine actually did a really good piece on this, he broke down the economics for people such as myself who are not great with numbers, but figure out how basic this is.
It’s just blatantly unfair, because it’s not just about, the popularity, and the merchandise, and the marketing. It’s also about the labor put in. You cannot tell me these women don’t work twice as hard, have other responsibilities, and many have jobs on the side.
Think back to not very long ago where a lot of the players, the NWSL players cannot afford to live on their own because of their salary, so they built it with people. Alex Morgan at one time was billeted by somebody. Think about that. Diana Matheson. She billets when she lives in the States, and comes home and lives with her parents in Oakville, Ontario. This is a real thing, a bad thing.
Brenda: A real bad thing.
Shireen: A real bad thing.
Brenda: I do want to ask you, Shireen, if you saw the news this week come out, where FIFA council sort of nebulously pointed to the idea, that they might make the prize money for the World Cup more equitable, and they might fund some business class seats for some people?
Shireen: Oh my God. I mean, I didn’t know we were on the burn pile already in the segment are we?
Brenda: It’s an interesting prospect like coming from top down, like even above the federation’s, right? FIFA’s saying, “Oh, this is pretty … ”
Shireen: I think we’re supposed to clap every time they come up with an idea, that let’s take a step towards gender equity. No, we should already be there, and we’re watching you FIFA. You know how I feel about FIFA. So, let’s just leave it. I will believe it 10 years after it happens.
Brenda: Yeah. Well it’s like I said, it’s very nebulous. Supposedly at the end of October if FIFA council is going to come out with some actual hard numbers in terms of money, but burn it all down. We have a permanent, and persistence skepticism, and it doesn’t help when FIFA says, “We’ll, come out with something maybe next month.” But, it’s interesting to keep our eye on, because I know we’re all super excited about the World Cup next year. Lindsey, do you want to wrap us up?
Lindsay: Here’s the thing. A long, long time ago, someone decided that women were worth far, far less than men, especially in the world of athletics. And, since that decision was made by a society, it is just every single decision just continues to compound that initial decision until someone does something radical to change it.
If you just keep going forward on the path that we’re on, nothing radical is going to change. It’s just going to get slightly better for women. Why? Like keeps getting exponentially better for men, because the money on the men’s side is not going away. So, I think that these rich men who are running these sports, that these people on the NBA side, people in the men’s soccer side, organizations like FIFA. My wish is that everyone would take a big breath, throw out these capitalist ideals, and figure out how to make this millions upon millions, hundreds of millions, billions. I can’t even think of how much money there is just floating around in these circles. How to make it work better for everyone because there’s a way. There’s enough money out there, and there is a way, and these female athletes are worth it.
Brenda: Okay. Now it’s time for everybody’s favorite segment, where we set a flame all the things in sports this week that drove us to distraction. Shireen.
Shireen: Hello. So, I had a lot to think about this week, and one of the things that I’m burning above all, and as I burn, I would like to just very happily important to believe, no doubt that on our crew we have the brilliant Jessica Luther, whose work really, really shaped the way that this went. This investigation and the Dallas Mavericks. So, massive hat tip, or in my case to jog tip to you, Jess. And, Jessica to you and your writing partner, John Worth, I’m on this piece.
I’m absolutely burning the toxic workplace environment of the Dallas Mavericks. I do not believe Mark Cuban, when he says he didn’t know. I think what’s come out of this including a 43-page report is staggering. It’s an environment and a culture of fear, for women who couldn’t even exist within their roles. There was no semblance of professionalism, respect or dignity for these women, and it was absolutely disgusting.
There was instances of clear violence committed, and abuse committed against staff members by other staff members. It’s just, it’s actually horrific to read, and we’re sitting here going … And this is all under the, you know, Shark Tank guy who comes across as being, so this and that and the other thing.
It’s really, really, really rough, and a know trigger warning for people that actually want to read about it, because it can be upsetting. But I want to absolutely burned that. And at the same time while I’m burning, like I said, and I’ll say again, it’s people like Jessica and the investigative reporting and the stuff that happens, that gets things turning in motion. So as I burn, I will hand a can of lighter fluid to Jessica, and have the rest of the team and all just pile it on. So, I want to burn that.
Jessica: Yeah. So on Friday evening, this past week, during the so called news dump, which has that magical time when you announce things you hope the media won’t spend too much time writing or talking about, because it’s Friday evening, and even journalists and columnists have lives. The University of Maryland released the 74-page report into Jordan McNair’s death. McNair you might remember was the offensive Lineman who died earlier this year after doing drills in football practice, which led to heat stroke.
According to the independent investigation, from the point when McNair began to cramp up on the field, to when they finally removed him from the field, was over 30 minutes. It took another half hour before anyone called 911, and then another half hour before the ambulance left to take him to the hospital.
McNair died two weeks later. Ultimately, what the report found, was that McNair’s death was preventable, an absolutely heartbreaking reality. He was not put into a cold tub, which is the normal thing you do for heat stroke, because there was no immersion tank near where they were working out, which just, when you think about all the money that goes into this particular sport … So, they didn’t have the immersion tank near where they working out, and then once his condition had deteriorated too much, they feared if they did put him in, that he would drown.
The head football coach D. J. Durkin is still on paid administrative leave. The trainer in charge, Rick Court negotiated a settlement with the school, and was allowed to resign. Two other trainers have been on administrative leave. As Gabe Fernandez pointed out at dead spend, the report was not about assessing blame, and determining who should be held responsible.
The report reads, “This evaluation addresses specific procedures including implementation, comprehension, and compliance of established policies. This report excludes any assessment of specific personnel, and consequently does not include any recommendations associated with staffing.”
Maryland has an eight-person commission, because university is love commissions … It has an eight person to look into the culture of the football program, and the board of regions won’t make any decisions about personnel until they get a report from a second external investigation, that’s currently ongoing. The deep desire to do nothing seems entrenched. According to the Washington Post, “It’s possible the board of regents won’t take up that matter until it’s next scheduled meeting October 19th.” Which would mean, the mini issues surrounding the Maryland football program might remain unresolved for several more weeks. Burn everything about this. Just burn it.
Brenda: Okay. It’s hard to even bounced back from, from that flaming, flaming trash. Okay. But my burn is less sad and more angry. It’s for those of you not watching the Champion’s League, you may have missed this amazing moment where Cristiano Ronaldo got a red card. I know it was, it was a really delightful moment.
Shireen and I are ever after happy. He pulled the other guy’s hair, and it was amazing, because he’s been playing this for long enough to be able to control that kind of stuff. Especially because like y you’re playing for Juventus, you’re playing against Valencia, you’re winning, you’re gonna win, why can’t he control himself? It’s just spectacular. And, then he cried. Did you see he cried Shireen?
He got a red card, and he cried. So, what happened was his teammate, Emre Can, who is a German player for Juventus, defended his teammate by saying, “Oh, we’re not women.” He wasn’t pulling hair and having a tantrum. “We’re not women, we’re playing football here.” Evidently we should all respond to comments like that like, “Oh, of course Cristiano cannot be guilty of such trifling activity, because he’s not a woman.” So, Can says, since that, he’s sorry, because he really respects women, and as it turns out he even knows some. So, I just want to burn the ongoing assumption that women are trifling, and silly, and do silly things, and don’t play football, and I want to burn his comments, and his response.
Lindsay: Yeah. So, on Sunday afternoon, after a frustrating Houston Texans loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Superintendent of a school district in Texas, Lynn Redden went to the Houston Chronicle Facebook page and wrote a comment, he said, “That might may have been the most inept quarterback decision I’ve seen in the NFL.” He was referring to the play of Texans, quarterback Deshaun Watson. He continued to say, “When you need precision decision making, you can’t count on a black quarterback.”
According to the Houston Chronicle. The moment this once again, school district Superintendent realized that this was a public comment. He deleted it. Oopsie! But he went on to defend his racism with more racism, when talking to the chronicle, he said, “Well, over the history of black quarterbacks have had limited success.” So you know, his comment wasn’t racist. It was just building off of history. Of course, we all know that the reason black quarterbacks haven’t had as much success as white quarterbacks historically is, because historically black athletes were shut out of the position of quarterback because of, racism.
You’ve got to look at the big picture here, Lynn. He ended up resigning, but not until the past couple of days, so for a full week he was still employed. Nobody fired him, which is just mind-boggling to me. People like this should not be able to resign, and I just look. I know logic never carries any weight in these talks. Like racists is don’t respond with a logic, but it just have a question for you. What about the Texans recent history, makes you believe that white quarterbacks are good decision makers?
Since, it started 2014 season eight, the team, the Houston Texans have started nine quarterbacks. Eight of them had been white. Does Redden really miss the brilliant mind, and accuracy of Brandon Weeden? What about Ryan Mallet? Case Keenum? Brian Hoyer? T.J Yates? Brock Osweiler? Or, Tom Savage. All who you probably never heard of. Deshaun Watson has the potential to become the best quarterback in Texans history. He’s on his way back from an ACL tear in 2017. He is a really bright star in the future of this league, and does not need to deal with this racist bull crap. Burn it.
Brenda: After all that burning, let’s celebrate some of the accomplishments of the bad ass women in this world, this week.
Honorable mentions, goo to Sarah Robles, for setting a new record in US. Cleaned and jerked 162 kilos in the USA Weightlifting Open in Las Vegas. She broke Cheryl. Hayworth’s record of one 61 kilos set in 2005. We’re waiting for our own Jessica Luther to take that on.
English Rugby Union’s RFU is set to reintroduce full time contracts for the England women’s team, starting in 2019.
Alba Palacios is the first transgendered player in Spanish women’s soccer.
Shelbi Kilcollins of the Peterborough Petes hockey organization. She is just an ongoing inspiration, a coach, a community organizer, and creates post-secondary engagement platforms to empower and encourage women, and create new fan bases in hockey.
Also, an ongoing inspiration is Robin Farina, coach, former pro cyclist, and founder of the women’s cycling association, who continues to push for inclusion and gender parity in cycling.
Kelsey Martinez, the first female assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders, and the only woman’s strength training coach in the NFL, and also like to take a minute to remember that this is 45 years since Billie Jean King won the battle of the sexes, and it’s worth commemorating that bad ass-ery. And finally, can I get a drum roll?
North Carolina Courage for the NWSL championship after 3-0 victory over the Portland Thorns. However, it may have pained Shireen and I, and they’re gangbusters season all around. Congratulations to the North Carolina courage.
Okay. In the dark times in which we live, what’s keeping you all going? Shireen?
Shireen: Dickinson College. I’m so excited about going to Dickinson this weekend, where I’m going to see are very own Amira Rose Davis, Brenda Elsey. I’m so excited about that. Everything from getting picked up in the same car, to not understanding what’s happening in the escape room, and probably having my anxiety triggered.
I’m just really young. I’m also really excited about getting my Burn It All Down merch, which is actually coming with Brenda, so I’m very, very, very, very, very excited. There’s a lot of excitement. My kids are doing rep tryouts for sports like volleyball, so I’m like going from one place to another right now, but I’m also really, really excited about fall, and big scarves, and wool sweaters and socks with my Birkenstocks. So yay. Fall.
Brenda: All right, Lindsay.
Lindsay: Shireen always has so many and she ends up taking mine. Mine was going to be fall too, so I don’t have any others. I don’t have kids, or nobody’s inviting me to speak anywhere, so the only thing I have is fall. So you could have left that for me, Shireen.
Brenda: No, to people listening. Invite Lindsay to speak.
Lindsay: I don’t need the kids part. Don’t need the kids part, but they invite me speak, could work
Brenda: Yes. Jessica?
Jessica: Yeah. We don’t know what fall is here. It is still really warm y’all. We are waiting in Austin. The big thing is the first night that gets into the 60s, and we have not gotten there yet, but I had a lot this week. It was a huge sports week for me. So, on Monday, thanks to my friends at the Center for Sports Communication and media, at the University of Texas, I got a ticket to go to the Andy Roddick’s foundations big benefit, which was Andy Roddick, and Roger Federer sitting on a stage chatting with each other moderated by Mary Carrillo, and I was in the third row, and I just like … It was a lot for me, and I loved every second of it. It was wonderful. And, then on Tuesday there was an event at the LBJ presidential library, which is on campus at UT. They have a big exhibit right now around sport, and civil rights, and social justice, and they’re doing programming.
On Tuesday, they had a conversation between US Olympic fencer, Ibtihaj Mohammed, the former long snapper and Green Beret, Nate Boyer, who’s famous for suggesting that Colin Kaepernick kneel. I don’t totally know why he was there, and former NFL coach Daron Roberts, who runs the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at UT, and I love Daron. So, that was a really fun thing. And, then on Friday, there was the Dan Jenkins, metal dinner on campus, where they honored the best sports writing, and I got to meet Sally Jenkins, and Seth Wickersham, and Mary Carillo was back to MC that event, and for as a teaser, for all of our tennis fans out there, in the middle of all of this, Mary Carrillo was nice enough to sit down with me for, I think maybe over an hour. It was a long time. She was so kind, and we chatted about all those things. I recorded all of it for you guys. It was a huge thrill for me, but I will also get to share it with all of our flame throwers, and so we’ll post that sometime soon.
Brenda: That’s awesome. For me, I don’t want to be repetitive, Shireen took mine, too, Linds, so, it’s not just you. Dickinson. I’m really excited. It’s a sport and social justice symposium. We have a great keynote which will star Shireen. She goes, and I go, and it looks like Amira from Penn State is going to make it. I’m really thrilled about that, and I hate the fall. So, just to let you know, all it means for me is that winter’s coming, and I’m super angry, because I love summer so much-
Jessica: Such a contrarian, Brenda.
Brenda: I am, and I have to go on all these fall field trips, like apple picking, and Pumpkin picking, and stuff with my kids, and it’s cute, and it’s nice, but it’s also for me, it’s like I don’t see what we’re celebrating here. I want it to be spring. But, the one good thing is I love, for me, Halloween is the most important holiday of the year. I’m already thinking about costumes, and that’s really exciting, and that might be my what’s good for the next month. So, just settle in.
So, that’s it for this week, in Burn It All Down. Burn It All Down lives on SoundCloud, but can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and TuneIn. We appreciate your reviews and feedback. So, please subscribe and rate. Let us know what we did, and how you think we can improve.
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Until next time, I’m Brenda Elsey on behalf of Shireen Ahmed, Jessica Luther and Lindsay Gibbs. Have a great week.