Episode 98: College Admission Scandal, Racist Fan Culture, and Katie Sowers on Coaching in the NFL
At the top of the show, Brenda, Shireen, Jessica and Lindsay talk about Odell Beckham Jr.’s trade and his awesome friendship Kimberly Jones. [2:38] Then the crew digs into the MASSIVE College Admission corruption scandal making headlines, and the issues around classism and racism that ensued. [6:36] Then Lindsay interviews the phenomenal Katie Sowers an Offensive Assistant Coach with the San Francisco 49ers. [23:28] The crew talks about toxic fan culture and how it affects athletes, and sports in general. [38:00]
Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, [51:54] our Bad Ass Woman of the Week, starring the Argentine Women’s Soccer Team that pushed for a new league in the federation, [1:02:20] and what is good in our worlds. [1:05:28]
For links and a transcript…
“Lower-Profile Sports Are at Center of Admissions Cheating Scandal” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/sports/college-sports-cheating-scandal.html
“The elaborate college admissions cheating ring is the real scandal of college sports” https://thinkprogress.org/loughlin-huffman-scandal-college-athletics-89fa3a31294d/
“College admissions scandal highlights the corrupt and exploitative world of collegiate sports” https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/college-admissions-scandal-highlights-corrupt-exploitative-world-collegiate-sports-ncna983901
“Well, What Do You Know? Turns Out the Fan Involved in the Argument With Russell Westbrook Is a MAGAt” https://www.theroot.com/well-what-do-you-know-turns-out-the-fan-involved-in-t-1833231970
“Utah Jazz owner backs Russell Westbrook, tells fans, ‘We are not a racist community’” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/03/15/utah-jazz-owner-backs-russell-westbrook-tells-fans-we-are-not-racist-community/?utm_term=.5debbe34e309
“Raheem Sterling Has Had Enough” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/sports/raheem-sterling-has-had-enough.html
“The One and Only Naomi Osaka” http://theundefeated.com/features/the-one-and-only-naomi-osaka/
“Man, This Is Some Racist Shit To Do In An Amateur Hockey Game” https://deadspin.com/man-this-is-some-racist-shit-to-do-in-an-amateur-hocke-1833333738
“Six months after Ronaldo was accused of rape, why is the case in legal limbo?” http://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer/0/blog/post/3794488/six-months-after-ronaldo-was-accused-of-rapewhy-is-the-case-in-legal-limbo
“How silence in the face of Conor McGregor’s Islamophobia led to a disgraceful mass brawl after his defeat” https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/conor-mcgregor-vs-khabib-nurmagomedov-ufc-mma-fight-racism-islamophobia-a8574526.html
“BU disgraces itself, telling longtime PJS beat writer ‘You don’t promote the Bradley brand’” https://www.pjstar.com/sports/20190315/commentary-bu-disgraces-itself-telling-longtime-pjs-beat-writer-you-dont-promote-bradley-brand
“Soccer Stars Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris Are Engaged!” https://people.com/sports/ali-krieger-ashlyn-harris-engaged/
“Azzi Fudd Named Gatorade National Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year” https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/sports/article/21050352/azzi-fudd-named-gatorade-national-girls-basketball-player-of-the-year
“Women’s college basketball player of the year: Iowa’s Megan Gustafson” http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/26271896/women-college-basketball-player-year-iowa-megan-gustafson
“Stanford recruit Haley Jones named 2019 Naismith girls’ high school player of the year” http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/26272323/stanford-recruit-haley-jones-named-2019-naismith-girls-high-school-player-year
“El fútbol también es de las pibas” https://www.pagina12.com.ar/181431-el-futbol-tambien-es-de-las-pibas
“England 80-0 Scotland: Red Roses win Grand Slam and regain Women’s Six Nations” https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/47596442
“Jr. Sabres Wins OJHL Volunteer Award” http://pointstreaksites.com/view/ojhl/news-21/news_515720
Lindsay: Before the episode begins, the entire Burn It All Down team wants to send our thoughts and love to the Muslim community in the wake of their horrific massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We send our solidarity to all the victims, survivors, and their families endow to continue to fight white supremacy in all of its violent forms.
Hello everyone, and welcome to Burn It All Down, the feminist sports podcast you need, for sure. I am Lindsay Gibbs, Sports reporter at Think Progress and I am thrilled this week to be joined by my colleagues and cohost, Shireen Ahmed, our fierce Canadian. How are you Shireen?
Shireen: I’m good. Thanks, Linz.
Lindsay: Jessica Luther back in the warmth in Austin, Texas. Hey, Jess.
Jessica: It’s only somewhat warm, but it’s definitely warmer than New York, so I’m happy to have it.
Lindsay: And Brenda Elsey, the indomitable associate professor of history at Hofstra. Hey Bren.
Lindsay: Okay, so it’s actually really tough to do this this week because I’m not staring at your faces while we record, so that makes me really sad. Last week we had our first live show in New York City at Columbia and that was an absolutely incredible experience. I just wanted to thank everyone who came out and everyone who sent us notes about the live show. It was a dream come true. We couldn’t have imagined it going any better and we’re just so proud. I’m still kind of just beaming. It still feels a little bit like it was a dream.
But this week we’re back to regularly scheduled programming, all staring at our computers as we do this in different parts of the country and the continent, I should say. But this week we’re going to be talking about this absurd college admissions scandal, which is really enveloped many athletic departments across the country. We’re also going to discuss an old faithful topic, racism in sports with a special focus on fans in the wake of the Russell Westbrook and Utah Jazz incident. Finally, I interviewed Katie Sowers, an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers to get a little bit about her back story and about being a woman literally on the sidelines in the NFL. So, that was a thrilling conversation that I think you’re all really going to enjoy.
Okay. First though, did we all see, not only the Odell Beckham trade, which I have to say that one of my best friends is a Giants fan and I just called him up laughing for like five minutes straight because it is just such an absurd trade. Like, he answered the phone and I just laughed. Sorry, Adam. But did you all see what the journalists, I believe her name was Kim, came out and said about Odell? Did you see this , Jess?
Jessica: Yes. So, it’s Kimberly Jones at the NFL network and it’s beautiful. If you want to find this video of her talking about Odell Beckham on NFL network and the trade, you just have to go to Odell Beckham Jr’s Twitter feed, and you’ll find it there because he retweeted it. And so, Kimberly Jones, I guess she was a Beat reporter, works alongside Odell Beckham for a long while hence does this very heartfelt goodbye to him and wishing him well at the Browns and gets emotional. She talks about what a nice man he is. When she had a huge medical scare, he showed up for her. Odell saw that and he retweeted it and he wrote, “Kim, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me in my career, the side combos, the real-life combos. I love you so much. Always in your corner and rooting for you. We’re blessed to still have you in this world. And P.S, smile. This ain’t a goodbye my phone will always work for you.”
There are so many exclamation points, it’s beautiful. I love everything about it. It’s just a really sweet exchange. It speaks to exactly what Kimberly Jones is getting out in her message about like how wrong the media often is about Odell Beckham and I just loved it. It just made my heart feel very full.
Lindsay: It was so sweet. Shireen, did you see this?
Shireen: Yeah, I mean I appreciate it and echo everything Jess said and it also showed to the way that how he treats her with so much respect and professionalism. And I think this goes to show also how it can be done. Like for an example, we look and we often, on this show, burn everything that’s crappy and how sports journalist are treated, women sports journalist are treated, and this is a very great example from a playbook on how to actually do it and be kind to each other. That’s really, really key, kind and respectful. I love Odell Beckham Jr. I’m just wondering post trade; will he do another video like him dirty dancing kind of thing? That scene, I still love that scene. I think he’s also very self-deprecating and very human. I love that. I still think about that. It’s part of one of the videos I watch for self-care. So yeah, it’s really wonderful.
Lindsay: Brenda, how are things in New York without Odell? So, Odell is now going to be the Cleveland Browns, and let’s be honest, the New York Giants did not really get much in return for him.
Brenda: I’m not a big Giants’ fan. I will say that New York seems a lot emptier without all of you. It does. The New York sports scene is very celebrity driven, even maybe more than performance. So, I don’t think it’s really reeling.
Lindsay: All right. I think that’s probably fair. Although, I do just want to say, I’ve always noticed that Odell has such a close relationship with NFL reporter for ESPN, Josina Anderson, who we’ve talked about on this show before. She’s reported a lot on him. They did a big interview. That combined with this Kim Kimberly Jones story just really makes me think that he really respects female reporters, which is … he’s certainly not the only one, but we love that. We love that here. Jess.
Jessica: Lindsay, I have one quick question for you. Does this mean that the Browns are gonna be good?
Lindsay: Yes. Baker Mayfield …
Jessica: Okay. We should prepare for that.
Lindsay: Yeah. Everyone, the Cleveland Browns are going to be legitimately good this year. So, that’s a thing. And you know what? I’m all for it. Let’s do this.
Okay. This is one of the more absurd sports stories we’ve had in a while, which is really saying something. Brenda, Professor Elsey, can you take us through what we learned about college admissions and sports and all this stuff this week?
Brenda: Well, as a lot of people wrote this week, I’m not sure that those of us who follow sports in college learned very much. That was new. But about 50 rich people, very wealthy people were arrested this week by the FBI. And this had to do with fraudulent scheme with test scores and admissions and faking athletic participation and even bribing some coaches to get their nonathletic and apparently nonacademic children spots in the universities that they wanted. You all can talk if I’ve missed anything, but the sports are water polo, tennis.
We’re laughing because there’s a Photoshop thing we can talk about what the child. That was maybe the most blatant. Tennis, sailing, rowing, volleyball and soccer. USC is the most sort of implicated here in this, especially Donna Heinel, the senior administrator who had overseen admissions for athletes. I would just like to take a moment to put a little bit of a different angle on it that I haven’t seen out there. Let’s just think for a minute. A place like Stanford University’s list price will cost a family $69,000 per year. So, that’s $300,000 for a BA.
So, it’s already not fair. None of it’s fair. So, it’s all about status because these families are wealthy enough to give substantial bribes already. And this really makes me sad. And yes, it’s a terrible irony that lucrative sports programs are successful on the backs of unpaid students of color, specifically ironic given the reaction of wealthy people to affirmative action as being non-fair admissions. But one just last thing that I didn’t see covered and it veers a bit away from sports, but I think it’s central to understanding this. Part of the reason that higher education has become so expensive is the tremendous growth of administration and people looking at colleges and experience that we’re supposed to provide for their children a bridge to adulthood rather than something you go to as an adult.
I understand administrators are necessary, but they’re very unchecked right now and it has devalued the education. It starts with faculty, it starts with making faculty labor more contingent and lower paid in this very moment when people are paying more and so it’s devaluing. The education and the shamateurism has everything to do with that. It’s a central part, but it’s not the only part. And I think we just need to come back when we talk about student athletes to understand that as part of this bigger problem where colleges and higher education has been seen as providing consumers instead of educating students.
Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely. Jess.
Jessica: Yeah, those are wonderful points, Bren. There’s so much to say about this. It actually derailed my Tuesday in a way that I wasn’t expecting ‘ I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s both not surprising at all and also you want someone to make a movie out of it because it’s just so wild in a lot of ways, even if it’s not surprising. I don’t know how to put those two things together. One thing that I wanted to talk about on this podcast, and I hinted at it a little bit, I wrote a piece for NBC Think. I’m interested in the fact that it’s these particular sports were all … it’s not basketball and football and that was clear from the jump, and I wrote a little bit about this like there’s such an intense scrutiny on basketball and football that you’re never going to be able to eek someone in like there’s too much … people pay too much attention to it because of all the reasons that we talked about on this show.
So, we have all these smaller sports and Brenda’s right, like I think it was crew where they literally had kids sit in boats, and they took pictures of them and then they photoshopped that into-
Lindsay: Jess, not even boats, the rowers in the gym.
Jessica: In the gym. I’m sorry.
Lindsay: You know those big machines in the gym. That’s what they took a photo of.
Jessica: Then soccer, they were photoshopping faces onto people’s bodies. It’s interesting to me. So, when I heard crew, the first thing that it made me think of was last year, I wanna say it was the University of Washington. I apologize, I should have looked that up before. I want to say, recently, the University of Washington got in trouble because the local media reported that they were using crew to pad title nine numbers. So, they were saying that there were way more women doing crew than we’re actually doing crew in order to say that they were meeting their title nine obligations of fair and equal opportunities for women athletes at their school.
That was actually like the first thing that I thought that these … there’s obviously all these issues with how much we don’t pay attention to these sports, but also this is the other way that we see it. I don’t know, there’s just so many levels here of all the things wrong with what we do pay attention to in college sports and what we don’t. I think it in some way gets back to what Brenda was talking about like that these are so far away from being about education anymore. We have to keep saying on the show over and over again, these are educators that are hired to be coaches at the schools. We have to constantly remind ourselves that this is about education.
Shireen: Yeah. I have a couple of thoughts on this, sort of some other aspects that I sort of wanted to talk about in addition to it being about as Brenda had said, about administration like shady and corrupt. We’d also need to talk about, and this is something Jess wrote about in her piece for it was just about how it put scrutiny on youth of color when it really shouldn’t. And I mean, this is something that I think about, the affirmative action and people are criticizing that, and it’s constantly criticized, etc, and how kids don’t get to make it because they don’t have the money.
We know that university and college programs on higher education, so to speak, it is a business. It’s not, not for profit organization, they’re businesses. The narrative being spun around the kids whose parents did this, I’ve heard people actually say what’s not the kid’s fault. Like for example, Lori Loughlin, formerly of Full House, right now, a Fuller House, her daughter had to deal with Sephora. I can’t remember what sport she said her daughter was involved.
Lindsay: The crew. She was the ergonomic rowers.
Shireen: Okay. So, I actually rowed crew in university and it’s not hard to tell when somebody gets to campus, says is a part of a team and has absolutely no skill in this. This is why I’m surprised by the Yale coach for $400,000 bribe. When you not know that someone had zero ball handling skills. I cannot dribble. I’m trying to think about what the-
Jessica: They don’t even show up though. They don’t even have to go.
Shireen: That’s for me is very bizarre. And is there a follow-up on this? Students and youth and athletes of NCAA sports they’re policed so heavily on what they can’t … And this is something that Jason Gay talked about when I was on … it’s only game last week that the NCAA really, really police the student athletes. They’re not allowed to make a dime outside. How come no one is policing these random kids? I’m not saying that people should…
Jessica: Because they don’t make money.
Shireen: The other thing, but she does. She’s technically getting Sephora money some other way. So, she’s just violated that also…
Lindsay: She’s an influencer. She has like a million followers.
Jessica: I see what you’re saying Shireen.
Shireen: That’s my point. The rules don’t apply. And this whole idea of entitlement, like this kid, how can you not know that your parents are buying you into school? I filled out my own applications and wrote out, but my parents were very well aware of what was happening and obviously, and they knew what I was up to because I showed them. I don’t buy this thing that these young kids, white kids of privilege didn’t know. That’s not good enough for me. And you know what? Wake up kiddo, grow up. I’m sorry. Your parents are shady. They’re doing something to propel you into a place where you don’t deserve to be. You’re gonna have to pay the consequences.
So, I feel no sorry-ness. Yeah, they’re kids, and hopefully, but I’m sure they can cry to their bags of money and they can be fine and will have more opportunities in life than many other people. That’s sort of the take I have on that. I’m still really boggled by a lot of this in terms of … Morgan Campbell, her friend, he tweeted something that I find hilarious and it’s literally gonna be my take. He said if I had “Bribe an athletic director” money, I would do something much more interesting than bribe an athletic director.
Lindsay: Yeah. No, it’s very, very true. Yeah, Jess?
Jessica: Yeah. I just wanted to very quickly piggy back off of Shireen’s point about black and brown athletes and I just wanted to mention that one of the terrible mess about student athletes, and there was a great article, I mentioned it in my piece at the Atlantic, October, 2018 college sports affirmative action for rich white students that the student athlete isn’t actually a white student, the majority of them, and we just have a very wrong picture about what the student athlete looks like cause we imagine it’s football and basketball players and so we imagine them as black. And this just then participates in the idea, the myth that black athletes are only on campus because they’re good at athletics, that black students are only on campus because they’re good at athletics. The levels here are really terrible.
Lindsay: Yeah, Bren?
Brenda: Yeah. While most of the universities are nonprofit, technically, they’re run by endowment and tuition and they have that category. I think what Shireen pointed to that’s so important is about these informal ways in which they’re very much acting as a business. And I do think that the people writing about this, this week did a really good job. Whether it’s tweeting on social media or bigger articles, articles like Jess and Lindsay did. But pointing out over and over again, the ways in which these NCAA athletes have been policed. I just wanted to ask all of you, we did that … Who was the YouTube …? There were twins.
Lindsay: Oh yeah, the Gonzalez twins. Yeah, Vegas.
Brenda: Do you remember that story in comparison with this Loughlin daughter’s situation? And race is most definitely a factor here and who gets policed. So, I just wanted to concur with Shireen and just bring that case up one more time and I don’t remember the specifics, but essentially they had to leave the team or leave their YouTube channel simply for what was much, much less profitable than the Loughlin daughter, I can’t remember her name, I’m sorry.
Jessica: I also, I talked to Monique Billings on this show about having a YouTube account while she was at UCLA and she talked about how difficult that was to navigate.
Lindsay: Yeah. Time after time, you just see like there are so many people get paid so much money by these universities just to police NCAA compliance, just to basically make sure that these athletes aren’t getting any money. But none of this is looking at the admissions people and the administrators and the athletic directors. There’s no scrutiny because the truth is this was all so blatant. There was one case of a tennis player in Georgetown where they lied and said that she had a top 50 USTA Junior ranking. That’s really easy to Google. That’s just right there. Those aren’t made up rankings or they’re not supposed to be. You can get the actual rankings, but the truth is there was just absolutely no scrutiny. It’s easy I think to dismiss a lot or … dismiss is the wrong word, but to talk about these sports as if these aren’t the sports that most people are focused on, which is true.
But I think that also limits the fact that there were some really successful programs involved in this. Water polo at USC, the coach was a 15-time national champion. He was like running the most successful like water polo program around and he directly was involved in this. And apparently, he said that what he would do was this foundation, this fake foundation that was set up that these parents would pay the money to and then the money would write these donations to the school or directly to the coaches. And so, he used it as a way to subsidize the coaches on his staff.
They all knew about it, and this was just their way. Like they let fake people onto their team so that they would get money to subsidize the staff or this nationally, the best program in the nation essentially. So, how is that fair? Heaven forbid there be inequity in college sports like this. They’re literally bribing people to stay at this program so they can remain nationally ranked. So, it’s just ridiculous. Although, one of my favorite parts, because there’s obviously really, really serious stuff to talk about here and I think we’ve touched on a lot of it from the race and class.
There’s also the fact that a lot of these sports were women’s sports. The USC women’s athletics program was being used a lot throughout this as a way to funnel money where nobody was paying close attention because who cares about the women? But there’s also just some stuff that we have to laugh at. Like in one case where they were trying get a water polo, pretend that one of the players was a water polo player. The Dad literally set up his son to take a photo, but the guy was literally standing in three feet tall waters, even the recruiter was like, this isn’t realistic because nobody could jump this high out of the water.
You can’t take a photo of him standing in the water with two thirds of his body out because like …
Jessica: They don’t even know what water polo is. It’s amazing.
Lindsay: Amazon stuff. He ordered water polo stuff on Amazon. Okay, we’re going to do one quick round up here. Bren.
Brenda: I just also wanna mentioned the one, it is delightful reading in some sense because have you ever felt class resentment that people were rich just because they’re smarts, you’re gonna feel really good after reading this like aha. And in this case, the dad change the height of his son because he was trying to say he played competitive basketball, but his son was 5’4″. I know Shireen wants to say Spud Mackenzie right now, but my point …
Lindsay: Spud Webb.
Brenda: Yeah, Spud Webb. But my point is that’s so funny.
Lindsay: It’s so funny.
Brenda: It is just like. It’s just like wow.
Shireen: One of the things that I find really hysterical, when we’re talking about sports, the former coach of the Yale women’s team that did take the $400,000 bribe was actually a pickleball champion. It’s a fun fact that I found out. I find out about these sports and I’m like wait what’s pickleball? And I had to Google it. But he used to schedule the training sessions and then like around pickle ball championships that he participated in. And he probably made a substantial amount of money doing that. Why this is relevant. I just think it’s a funny, weird fact that’s embedded somehow into this whole cartel scandal, all of it. So, pickleball players, I hope we don’t get mail from them.
Lindsay: Shireen, I have a question.
Lindsay: What is pickleball.
Shireen: Now, don’t feel bad. Pickleball is actually … looks like tennis, but it’s played with a flat paddle so there’s no strings and it’s a wooden paddle that’s pickleball.
Lindsay: It’s cornhole with a paddle.
Shireen: It’s cornhole with a paddle, much slower. But he was a very intense competitive pickleball player. So, if you ever move to pickleball player, be a little bit wary, flamethrowers.
Brenda: Oh no.
Lindsay: Wow. Okay. What would you all do without Burn It All Down?
Jessica: We’re going to get emails from pickleball players.
Lindsay: All right. This week I had the honor of talking with Katie Sowers. Katie is in her third season in the NFL is an assistant coach. She’s currently with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant. Katie played for eight years in the woman’s football alliance and she was a member of 2013 United States women’s national football team. In 2016, she started her NFL coaching career during the off season in training camp with the Atlantic Falcons. And then, she joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 on the Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship where she started working with the team’s wide receivers. I wanna give a shout out, she’s going to talk in this interview about her uh, mentor Scott Pioli and how much he did for her career and we wanted to give a shout out to the Scott Pioli and Family Fund for Women Football Coaches and Scouts, which is a new fund that’s done in conjunction with the Women’s sports foundation. So, this is a great way to help aspiring female football coaches and scouts pursue an advanced careers and collegiate and professional football.
All right, I am so excited to be here with Katie Sowers, the brilliant one. And Katie, okay, as a woman who works in sports, I refuse usually to start questions with or starting interviews with how did you get into expo. But with football I feel like it’s a little bit different because women do not grow up typically playing the sport and it’s not kind of built into our college system. So, I’m gonna give myself a pass here and kind of start there. How did you get into playing American football? ‘Cause I know you were an athlete first before you became a coach.
Katie: Yeah. Well I appreciate you having me on the show as I don’t mind this question at all. Actually, am pretty used to answering it. Growing up I always really loved football. I don’t know what it was, but my twin sister and I would always play football in the backyard. I remember one of the best Christmas presents I ever received was back in the early ’90s, my parents knew how much my sister and I loved football and so they got us all these old used pads and helmets from the college.
My Dad was coaching women’s college basketball and probably to them they were like, “Well we’re getting rid of these.” But my twin sister and I, it was like one of the best gifts you could possibly give somebody. So, I always knew that football was a love and passion of mine, but I didn’t think that girls could play football. So, I even have some journal entries where I said, “Well, since I can’t play football, I guess we’ll play basketball.” I went on and played a number of different sports throughout college and came back and found a women’s tackle football league after college. And that’s how it got me back on the football path.
Lindsay: You ended up playing for the U.S. National team in football, which I think a lot of people don’t even know we have, but it’s so important. There’s a saying that you can’t be what you can’t see, and we certainly don’t see many on the NFL side lines. So, when did actually coaching in the NFL become a possibility for you?
Katie: It wasn’t until I saw Becky Hammon coaching in the NBA and that was when she first started this before there were any internships or anything going on with women in the NFL. I remember, at the time, I was coaching youth football, I was trying to get into coaching at some level. I was thinking basketball at that point because that was really what I had my mind set on since after moving on from football when I was young. But I saw her, and I remember posting on my Instagram, “NFL, I’m coming for you.” It was a picture of me coaching youth football at the time. That was the first moment where I had an aha moment. And it’s crazy with how passionate I was about football, how passionate I was about coaching, that it never registered to me that that could be a possibility for me. And seeing that really made it a possibility and I knew it was gonna happen.
Lindsay: That’s incredible. So, what year was that and how did you … ’cause I know you got eventually started with … it was a Scott Pioli Fellowship, I believe, with the Atlantic Falcons. So, what was the timeline from that Instagram post to getting that coaching fellowship?
Katie: That Instagram posts I believe was in 2014, I want to say. That should have been around the time Becky Hammon was starting in the NBA.
Lindsay: Yeah, that’s exactly the timeline. Yeah.
Katie: Yeah. So, it wasn’t until 2016 that I got the internship. I started coaching Scott’s daughter around that time, coached her for a couple of years and we just kept in contact. Scott ends up moving to Atlanta to be the assistant general manager for the Falcons. He was previously the former general manager for the Chiefs. We maintained this … he was my mentor, he was my friend, he was the guy that I went to, to talk to, to really get to know the NFL culture. Opportunities came up. He helped me get into the East-West Shrine Game and really helped to build my resume in the NFL and gain experience before I was actually thrown into that internship in Atlanta.
Lindsay: That’s incredible. I’d just love to hear that about that partnership ’cause I feel like oftentimes you hear like, oh they helped me, but it’s nothing. You don’t hear about these long-lasting connections that are really built. So, when you said you coached his daughter, was she playing in the football league, Youth Football League that you were coaching?
Katie: I actually coached his daughter in basketball. So, I was coaching both.
Katie: Yeah, I was coaching youth in the fall and then it was that overlap where then basketball started. So, I would go from coaching. We actually did have a female on a team, but it was mainly eighth grade boys coaching football to fifth grade girl’s basketball, which was pretty fun. I enjoyed everything. I enjoyed everybody that I’ve met and it’s just crazy being … the things that happen and the people that you’ll meet and you never know when that that opportunity’s gonna come up where you know you’re … the whole time I thought I was coaching fifth grade basketball, I thought I was working towards a certain goal, but little did I know that that experience was gonna lead me to where I am today.
Lindsay: Wow. That is remarkable. What was the first moment on the sidelines of an NFL game? What are your first memories from that moment and how did you feel?
Katie: Actually, I remember walking out, it would have been at the Georgia Dome when I really, truly had my first experience. I remember walking out and it was almost a surreal moment where everything that I had dreamed about when I was little and I thought I never would get to achieve, the small things like looking around and seeing all these helmets that match and being on a, what I used to call in a journal, a real football team. I got to experience that a little bit while I played in the women’s league. They don’t offer the things that they offer and the experiences are not the same because the game is just not as developed, and hopefully it will get there, but the experience I had in that first NFL game was truly amazing. I remember just thinking I was doing it for that little girl back then and I was pretty excited to do that.
Lindsay: That’s really remarkable. Early on, when you were with San Francisco, I think it was a couple of years ago, you opened up about your sexuality, about being gay. Why was that important for you? Because you can think you’re already breaking so many barriers as a woman, might not want to draw a lot of attention to yourself. Why was it important for you to come out and make that statement and be true about who you were?
Katie: It’s never about coming out and making a statement. It actually just happened. I didn’t even know the story was gonna get as big as it did. It was just one of the things … I was dating somebody at the time. “Is it okay if we mentioned who you’re dating?” I said that’s fine. I’ve been out for a really long time so I didn’t see why I wouldn’t. I never wanted to hide that because the more authentic we are, the more real we are, first of all, the better workers we are, the happier we are, but the more the better coaches we are. Coaching is all about getting buy in and having people trust you and trust who you are. And if they don’t know who you are, then how can you really get that buy in from anybody? I just think being authentic is the best way to go and that’s what I did.
Lindsay: What is the reception locker room been? I’m a huge football fan. I grew up loving the Carolina Panthers, still do. I’m always told even that football isn’t a friendly place for women and that there’s a lot of homophobia in the sport. What have you experienced actually being there?
Katie: I have not received any homophobia or anything like that. I’ve had players that have gone out of their way to come into my office and tell me how important it is that that article came out, how cool it is. People have talked about their siblings being gay. I’ve had coaches talked to me about people in their family that are gay and just how important that is. So, it was a really, really good reception.
Lindsay: I love it. That’s so good to hear. It’s really heartwarming, especially like that they’ve gone out of their way to really make sure that you’re accepted and a part of this community. So, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned as a coach these past few years? Where’s your biggest growth come from?
Katie: I think a lot of the internal desire to get better. I think especially in the position that I’m in, we can often make excuses. Oh they don’t want me to do this because I’m a woman. Oh, I’m not getting opportunities. They haven’t come across this obstacle having a woman, locker rooms or whatever. Whatever it might be. But there’s a point where you have to stop making excuses and just get better. I remember I used to tell my dad … my dad he’s a retired coach, and I used to come home when I was young and say, “I feel so out of shape. The coaches aren’t running us enough.”
He would just look at me with no pity and just say, “Can you run on your own?” And I would say, “Well, yeah.” And he said, “So, I don’t want to hear you complain about it.” And that’s kind of the mindset. We live our whole lives, and we expect people to train us, but we are in charge of what we can control. So, that’s the main thing that I’ve learned is when it comes to learning this game, yeah, I don’t have the experience in terms of like, I didn’t get to watch film in college. I don’t have the network that a lot of people do, but that’s no excuse, and I’m just going to work even harder.
Lindsay: You brought up the locker rooms. I’ve written in tennis a lot. When Andy Murray had a female coach, he was like, “Everyone keeps asking me about the locker rooms, but it’s no big deal. We just meet outside the locker room. We just meet in the hallway.” But of course, football is, it seems like a lot more revolves around the locker room and since the whole team’s in there, has that been a barrier or has that been pretty easy to work around?
Katie: For me, it’s been very easy. There’s nothing to work, and I don’t want to say it’s because of my sexuality, so I don’t think it is at all. I think the locker room is a place for players, it’s a safe place for players. I think whether you’re a man or you’re a woman, it’s not a place for anyone who is not a player should really truly be hanging out. We are in there to do what we need to do and we get out. I think that’s the main thing. Sometimes that gets overlooked and you start to question, well, why can’t a woman be in there? Is it not safe for her? Is it uncomfortable for other people? The bottom line is that’s a safe place for players and it doesn’t matter what gender you are. We know our role and we know where we’re supposed to be.
Lindsay: It’s a workplace at the end of the day, right?
Lindsay: Yeah. So, what is your career trajectory now? What are your goals going forward?
Katie: My goals are really just to continue to grow as a coach to create value in whatever position I’m in. I would love to be a head coach someday and that’s some time down the road, but I’m just going to take it day by day and continue to grow.
Lindsay: So exciting. Okay, final question, and this is a little bit embarrassing. So, I follow you on Instagram ’cause I love all the photos you post. You know how on Instagram it’ll show you, like if someone you followed liked something else?
Lindsay: So, that’s how I found now that you too watch the bachelor, so …
Katie: Yes, I do.
Lindsay: As do I. So, I have to ask you, what are your thoughts on the finale last night?
Katie: Oh man. So, it’s funny because I don’t watch live TV, I never have time, but I watch two things, I watch the bachelor and I watch NFL network. So, it’s quite the tandem do all right there. But I was in love with Cassie. I was in love with her from the very first moment that I saw her.
Lindsay: She’s gorgeous. Oh my gosh.
Katie: I think I even loved her before Colton did. So, I was pretty upset to see the ending to be honest, ’cause I was kind of hoping she would be single, but that’s not the case.
Lindsay: Yeah. I don’t know if I totally buy her full turn yet, but maybe that’s just the cynic in me. We’ll see. We’ll see how it develops.
Katie: More positive thinking for me. You never know.
Lindsay: I’m just trying to make things work out for you is what’s happening.
Katie: I wish them the best, but if it doesn’t, I’m always here.
Lindsay: Slide into those DMs as they decide.
Lindsay: Well, Katie. Thank you so much for being on burn it all down. You are an inspiration to all of us and I can’t wait to follow your career.
Katie: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Lindsay: All right. We haven’t solved racism in sports yet, and this week that was … Jess, can you get us started here?
Jessica: Yeah. So, early last week, the Oklahoma Thunder Superstar, Russell Westbrook, he had words and Salt Lake City with a Utah Jazz fan. The fan, who it turns out loves to post all kinds of racist things on social media, especially about Westbrook made racist, and according to Westbrook, “Completely disrespectful” remarks to him, including telling Westbrook to “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” So then someone caught Westbrook, his response to this guy on camera Westbrook was mad. He basically said, “I promise you I’ll fuck you up. You and your wife, I’ll fuck you up.” The video, of course, did not have the white man’s words in it. Just Westbrook’s response.
I might be wrong about this because I’m not on social media a lot these days, but I feel like initially people were sort of tsk-tsk-tsking at Russell Westbrook. But then, people on Twitter found this racist man’s racist Twitter account and Westbrook’s teammates, Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton confirmed Westbrook’s accounts of the fan’s behavior. And then, Utah Jazz players also chimed in. Thabo Sefolosha, said that he stood with Westbrook 100%. “Fans like Shane Keisel… ” the racist fan, “… who use that platform to spur their hateful and racist views need to be held accountable.” Donovan Mitchell also backed Westbrook and said that while he loves Jazz fans, “This is not the first time something like this has happened in our arena.”
Okay. So, the racist fan has been permanently banned from jazz games. NBA also though, fined Westbrook, $25,000 for “Directing profanity and threatening language toward the fans.” The Utah Jazz owner, Gail Miller, an old white lady, to my surprise, went on court on Thursday to address the incident directly and to the fans of the team. But in her speech about everyone deserving dignity and respect, she couldn’t help but say, “This should never happen. We are not a racist community.”
Okay. The following day, Friday, the Jazz announced that they were going to ban a fan who in April, 2018, during the first round of the playoffs last year, kept calling Westbrook “Boy” during warmups. April, 2018, Westbrook told him to stop. The man kept going after that game in 2018 Westbrook said, “I don’t confront fans. Fans confront me. Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It’s truly disrespectful. They talk about your families, your kids. It’s just a disrespect to the game and I think that it’s something that needs to be brought up. I’m tired of just going out and playing and letting fans say what the hell they want to say.” It took almost a year and another incident of a racist Jazz fan directing his comments at Westbrook for the organization to do anything about that guy.
Okay. Of course, this is deeper than two racist fans, which we’re gonna get into. We’ve talked about racism in sports a lot on the show. I think the delay in the Jazz punishing that fan from 2018 is the most interesting detail. That action only occurs when there’s bad PR and that it takes particular charged form of it. On some level, I don’t know how you guys feel about this point, but on some level it feels like there’s nothing new to say, but also that we just have to keep saying so every time it happens because you never actually know which racist incident is gonna affect change here. What do you guys think about this? What are you thinking after everything that went down this week?
Lindsay: Yeah. I felt that the conversation steered in an actually productive way this time, which is not always the case and of course, with the attention span that we have these days, there is no promise that this is going to continue. It was nice to see ownership of some teams actually for once taking the side of the players. I think what you forget is that these players play in so many … they’re subjected to so much abuse. For the black players, there’s so much racial abuse that is just thrown away casually. None of it is casual of course, but hopefully, you guys know what I mean there ’cause I’m not saying my words properly, which is great for a podcast, but it just seems that what we’re seeing time and time again is people making excuses for these abusive fans.
People saying that players make all this money and to just let it roll off their backs and people saying that this is just part of it, this abuse is just part of it. Now, this week, there’s a tiny turn to say, no. This should absolutely not be part of it. These fans should not have to be subjected to racial abuse, period, from anyone. It doesn’t matter if they’re paying ticket holder. It does not matter. It does not matter how much money they make, the racism still should be banned. So, I was at least partially heartened that we started seeing that. Although, it’s so little and it’s so late. Shireen.
Shireen: Yeah, I think that one of the things about this as the culture of fandom and what that looks like, and you can really get irritated with a player. Like I will get really frustrated with Gerard Pique, like I get frustrated with him all the time. He’s a white man, so obviously … and that idea of saying something racist or using slurs that are homophobic or anything doesn’t … it doesn’t enter my mind. But the thing is that people will argue or just bent on, I’m just frustrated and caught up into the passion of the game. You can really get rid of horrifically ableist, homophobic, racist language. It’s not that difficult. You can get frustrated with a player and be like, that player was crap or that was not … there’s many ways colorful for me to express my frustration with all kinds of athletes that don’t involve slurs that don’t involve offensive really, really horrible language.
It’s also about what’s permitted. For example, like we bring up and you have brought up before is Raheem Sterling. Now, it’s not only fan culture, it’s media that presents this player. And you said something really interesting. He came up with an Instagram post a couple of months ago now and he’s been fairly quiet about it until this Instagram post. And he talked about he just sort of had enough and felt as responsibility. For those that don’t know, Raheem Sterling is a player for Manchester City. He’s also an English national. He’s originally from Jamaica. His family moved to England when he was two and he has literally … if you buy something that’s like … he comes walking out of a shop, the Daily Mail will like, oh look at him, he’s blingy. They’ll put everything he does in a sense of with those tropes of what black athletes do.
But like then you’ve got he who shall not be named with like the alleged rapist with all of his cars and his everything, but it’s always perceived as, oh look how hard working he is. So, the narrative used to describe Sterling is really, really stereotypically offensive. He grew up absolutely working class and then says it’s the other side that people are like, oh, he grew up in a rough neighborhood. He’s like, I didn’t, I grew up close enough to be able to see … He grew up in an area of London called Wembley, and he could see the stadium. So, he’s like, “No, my mother worked really, really hard, but we had what we needed. Don’t make me seem like what I’m not for the other extreme.” So, it’s almost like the honesty with which we know about the athletes and then the fans interpret that as they wish.
We’ve seen banana throwing at players on the field. Like Boateng, I remember walked off of Serie a couple of years ago now, I think it was Brent that he actually walked off the pitch and it was just like, “I’m not doing this anymore.” It’s really, really horrible. We saw a player in the Australian league who was also being hit with Islamophobic abuse. We see it all the time. We see how there’s media tropes about Serena very recently, a cartoon about her. This is something that when media presents, like I’m always here for to blame media, how it’s perceived and absorbed by fans. So, the whole thing is a system. It’s like propelled. And it, it’s, it’s really, really dangerous. I am the belief that there are some things that warrant permanent like forever banning of games and matches and leagues like if you will are caught abusing the player or even other fans in such way you’re done.
You have to pay that price and don’t give a post apology, a post facto apology of, “Oh, it’s not representative who I am.” That’s not good enough. What you say is actually who you are. So, own it and deal with the consequences. Like we talked about Diaby, the minor Quebec hockey league player, and how when he was racially abused by fans, not only were the fans not ejected, they were just told to move to a different part of the arena. So, it’s also like train your staff to deal with it immediately, effectively in an impactful way ’cause this type of stuff, not only … just think about the severity of it. The athletes are there to compete, they’re literally in competition using their bodies, using their minds and then this stuff is a completely different form of labor.
Being abused racially, and I can say this from experience is so mentally and physically draining. So, to do that and add that on top is unfair. It’s completely unfair and unacceptable.
Brenda: Yeah. I just wanted to say that part of our live recording in the events last week. We talked with Michael Bennett who wrote this book, things that make white people uncomfortable. And one of the things that he was talking about was this precisely, feeling dehumanized and feeling that fans, and he actually pointed to fantasy football as being one of the things that led fans to feeling like they owned his body. And he said, “I can’t stand fantasy football because at leads fans to really feel as though they have ownership over me. And then he pointed out the fact that the NFL is one of these few places where you have to call your boss, your owner.
And so, I really think the shift that’s happening in terms of looking at athletes as labors is really important to thinking about racism on your job. You know, Shireen just pointed that out and it’s really important I think to change the frame of looking at athletes altogether and thinking of them as laborers, whether it’s artistic or physical or whatever you want to or however you want to sort of nuance that. Because I think clubs do lead the media around by the nose a lot of times in terms of providing them access or not. I think media, yes. But I also think these are narratives produced by owners. Oh, I hate saying that. The owners of teams.
Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely. Michael Bennett’s talk was all I’ve been thinking about throughout all of this. So, just like wanting to be seen as human and the fact that this is all part of this dehumanization that is a part of this. Jess.
Jessica: Yeah. So, I just wanted to sort of tie all this together. There was a beautiful cover story about Naomi Osaka for ESPN Magazine written by the lovely Soraya McDonald. I highly recommend it. There’s this part in the middle where McDonald asks Osaka about Serena and the US Open final, and she does a really great job of laying out her own trepidation with sort of asking about this like what’s gonna happen when I ask. And IMG rep actually steps in and tries to stop this interview or to stop them from this questioning around the US Open final. And Osaka says “No.” And she decides to push on and she wants to talk about it.
She says beautiful words about being a black woman, playing against Serena, beating Serena, and especially in the charged U.S. open final. So, Osaka says to McDonald, “If I were to put it bluntly, I know that there’s a lot of people that don’t like Serena and I feel like they’re just looking for someone to sort of jump on to be against her. And I feel like they found that in me. Of course, I don’t really like that. I want people to go with me for the right reasons. If I’m being blunt, I feel like that’s happened a lot after the U.S. open.” So, this is a lot about fans and like what they want to see. Tennis has lots of its own issues around this stuff.
But I do think it matters that Osaka was sitting across from Soraya McDonald, a black woman, and doing this interview. I think the fact that Osaka wanted to press on and talk to her, it was probably because she felt some sort of kinship. I don’t know this, but the way McDonald writes it is at Osaka went around the IMG rep to answer this question. She did it incredibly thoughtfully, slowly, deliberately. She cries, but she doesn’t break eye contact with McDonald as she’s answering this question. And so, the fact that we get these powerful words from this young black woman who is seen up close and personal in the last year, the way that racism works in her sport and that she’s saying it to Macdonald, I think really shows that the importance of media and the impact that this racism has within sport.
Shireen: Yeah, and just as somebody who can cement that, it is a lot easier to talk about racism with people of color. I’m just going to add that known fact in there that that is a reality of the situation. I love those points Jess, which is so important to keep, even talking about racism and media is work ’cause it’s something that privileged white athletes just do not have to do
Lindsay: All right. It is time to, after all that deep discussion, throw some things onto the burn pile. Jess, can you get us started?
Jessica: Yeah, I really can’t. So, Bradley University is a small private school in Peoria, Illinois. But they do have a D1 basketball team. It’s been to the big dance about 10 times in the last 70 years, including, I think it was 2006, they did a run that took them to the Sweet 16, and they’re back in it this year. They won the Missouri Valley Tournament. But that’s not actually why they’re in the national news. No, they are in the news because late last week the school wanted to ban Peoria Journal star’s longtime beat reporter Dave Reynolds from a media event about the team’s appearance in the NCAA tournament. I should be clear, when I say long time, I mean 29 years, Reynolds has covered this team.
So, this is how Reynolds described what went down between him and the assistant director of Athletic Communications, Jason Veniskey. “He pulled me aside and said their policy of me not given extra coverage and opportunity was still in place and I was not allowed to do any interviews. I told him the newspaper received the invitation.” He said, “That was directed to your boss, not to you.” I said, “He doesn’t cover the team, I have for 29 years.” He responded by saying, “You don’t promote the Bradley brand and basically we don’t want you here.” I said, “Jason, that’s not my job to promote the Bradley brand, you know that.” He said, “That’s what we decided.” I said, “Who’s we?” He said, “Bradley University.” I said, “You realize how petty that is, Jason.”
This is amazing. Bradley head coach Brian Wardle told Reynolds that Reynolds focuses too much on the negative and that they’ve told him three times before to lay off on the negative. Then Wardle, according to Reynolds, basically told them they don’t want that negative energy around their program. So, this is amazing. This is similar to the college admissions scandal and that there’s always just something just like magical thing in these moments where what we know to be true is just made really super clear, like everything is pulled away. Journalists are not public relations flax, they aren’t supposed to be homer’s, they don’t work for the schools or a team. Their job is not only to talk about an organization through rose colored glasses.
That Bradley basketball thinks that they can and should banish a journalist for doing his job makes me really wonder what the hell is going on inside that program. Of course, Bradley University apologized and Reynolds had his access restored. All that negative attention they were hoping to avoid by banning him in the first place came at them like a tidal wave, which apparently, their PR flacks didn’t predict. I hope Reynolds uses his restored access to ask very tough questions to and about the men who sought to keep him far away from them. So, I want to burn the idea that journalists exists to do the work of assistant directors that of athletic communications.
Brenda: This week I’m burning the coverage surrounding a Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo. I know you’ll all be shocked, really. This week Sam Borden wrote a really good piece for ESPN that details the stalling of Kathryn Mayorga’s rape case against Ronaldo. Mayorga reported that Ronaldo raped her in 2009 to the police. And what we’ve learned in the last month since the case has been reopened is that the settlement terms were perhaps not fully complied with. In addition to that, Mayorga has reported intimidation leading up to signing the agreement and after. So, there’s some new details that have come up since the announcement that the police investigation was reopened five months ago.
There have been no updates on how things are proceeding, but since Ronaldo scored a hat trick for Juventus against Atletico Madrid to move his team forward in the champion’s league last week, there have been dozens and dozens and hundreds and hundreds of articles that praise his football playing, which no doubt is good. I would just like to say they are unnecessarily superfluous and lack reflection. I find it just amazing. There’s ways to talk about that hat trick without talking about his reputation and his family, but Juventus just keeps putting the PR. Nike keeps putting out the PR and every media outlet is just sucking it up.
Even the usually amazing Eniola Aluko wrote a glowing piece about the women’s side all getting together to watch him. That appeared far more as a Bradley PR piece than journalism. If you can’t write critically about him, don’t write at all. So, I would like to burn the fact that Kathryn Mayorga is somewhere having to read this person’s plastered news, and again, I’m not talking about his football stuff. I’m talking about the way in which they extract things about his personality and his family from what he does on the pitch, uncritically. So I’d like to burn that uncritical puff stuff around.
Lindsay: Burn. All right. This week I am sad to put Martina Navratilova back on the burn pile, but I just cannot stomach the fact that she is continuing with her ignorant and dangerous comments about female trans-athletes. This week, the ACLU sent out an article. It said the arguments against trans women participating in sports are based in the same stereotypes that are used to keep cis women off the playing field. Sex Discrimination in sports is wrong, period. The ACLU’s piece echoed a lot of the points that the remarkable Katie Barnes made on this podcast a couple of weeks ago with our own Jess Luther.
If you haven’t listened that one, please go back to that podcast where they really dive deep into this issue and talk about why Martinez initial comments against trans athletes were so harmful. But what really bothered me this week was the fact that Martina seems to have not learned anything at all. She responded to this ACLU argument article saying, “I love you ACLU, but you are wrong on this. Unless you want to completely remake what women’s sports means, there can be no blanket inclusion rule. There is nothing stereotypical about this. It’s about fairness and it’s about science. Thank you.”
Onto the burn pile with that bullshit. This is not about fairness for women athletes. It’s not about science. The ACLU was not saying that the IOC and the NCAA should completely get away with their guidelines for trans athletes, which actually most trans activists agree are appropriate. So, it was not arguing for blanket inclusion in that way. It was talking about how on the youth level there needs to be inclusion. That how we talk about these matters and how we need to make this about human rights and not about cis women’s rights. So, Martina, I hope that one day you will listen and that you will learn about this, but until then, you’re remaining on the Burn.
Shireen: This week is, and this weekend particularly is Saint Patrick’s Day. So, happy Saint Patty’s Day to those who observe and go broad, et cetera. But what I am going to put on the burn pile metaphorically is Conor McGregor. Now, I have a deep respect for Irish folks. I really do, with their resistance. I went to an Irish Catholic high school and I have love for those people. I just really feel that it’s important to recognize that as well. However, please come and collect Conor Mcgregor, a known racist and Islamophobe who was touted by the Boston Bruins in their locker room. Now, this is only days after Conor McGregor was arrested in Miami for criminal misbehavior and assault because a fan wanted to take a photo with him and he slapped the phone out of the fan’s and then stomped on it. There’s a lot to say about that like taking photos with someone who doesn’t want that, I totally get it. But getting slapped by Conor McGregor isn’t like getting slapped by like, I don’t know, somebody who’s not an MMA fighter.
So, just days after this he makes an appearance to do the pop drop at the Boston Bruins game. I get that it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. I get that he’s Irish, but it also get that he’s horribly xenophobic and a racist in this commentary. He’s gross. Again, coming back, we talked about it this episode, just vernacular around it. It’s not competition. It’s not just like small little jabs. It’s very offensive. And the fact that the NHL just days after this, days after this massive event in the world that has shaken the Muslim community, props up this man who is seriously is on record for making very offensive Islamophobic comments can be there to sort of whitewash it all away and just be like, “Oh I’m Irish, so let’s just forget about everything I’ve ever done that’s bad.”
I don’t have big expectations of the Boston Bruins in this regard. I really don’t. We know that city’s race is history. However, this whole thing made me nauseous and it was just gross to me and also his performative in the locker room of, when I say Boston you stay strong. Like that whole narrative, particularly coming from someone like Conor McGregor that has that specific history of hatred, I don’t want any of it. I have become more receptive to New England sports, particularly ’cause Michael Bennett had been traded to the Patriots, so I’m gonna be open minded a little more, but I’m sorry Bruins, you failed again. So, I want to put all of that on the burn pile.
Lindsay: After that burn pile extraordinaire, it is time to lift up some bad ass women of the week.
Going to start with karate superstar, Nargis Hazara for winning Pakistan’s sportswoman of the year award.
We want to give a shout out to the NWAHL finalist, the Isabelle Cup final game will be played today, so we don’t know the winner yet. It’s gonna be played between the Buffalo Beauts and the Minnesota White Caps. It will be live streamed on Twitter. We can’t wait to watch that. So, good luck to both of the teams.
We want to shout out the Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger who announced their engagement this week. Congratulations.
Azzi Fudd, who became the first sophomore to when Gatorade National Girl’s Basketball Player of the Year award since its inception in 1985.
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, ESPNW’s unanimous selection as the national player of the year.
Stanford recruit, Haley Jones, who was named the 2019 Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year. It is basketball season friends.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who finished the slalom season in regal fashions with victory in Andorra, the 24 year old clinched her 16th win of a record breaking season.
England Roses, women’s rugby team have won the Grand Slam and beats Scotland by 80 to nothing, which sounds like a whole lot to me. I don’t know much about rugby, but goodness that sounds like, oh, beat down.
Melissa Burgess for winning the Ontario Junior Hockey League Volunteer of the Year Award.
Amanda DeKanick has been hired as a full time assistant athletic trainer for the Minnesota Vikings. There are now six full time female athletic trainers in the NFL. I love hearing that.
BBC’s match of the day presenter and former England National Alex Scott, who won the breakthrough award for her contributions to football journalism by the broadcasting press guild in the UK.
One more basketball, Erica Ogwumike the first C-USA WBB player of the year and her team Rice University owls for their championship win. We will see them in the NCAA tournament. And look, the Ogwumike sisters’ dynasty just continues. So, we loved that.
And okay, drum roll please. Oh gosh, that makes me miss the live show.
Jessica: Me too.
Shireen: I know. I missed it. Where’s the audience?
Lindsay: Yeah. Missing the live audience.
Our badass woman of the week this week goes to the Argentine women’s soccer players who forced the national federation to professionalize their league for the first time. We can look for a new cup competition and training facilities. 16 of the Argentine clubs will have two months deadline to give at least eight players pro contracts funded by the federation. This is a huge step for it and it’s all due to their fight. So, congratulations.
Okay. All right. Now, let’s go to what’s good this week. We’re gonna have come up with something new now that the live show’s in our past. Shireen, you want to get us started?
Shireen: Sure. Thanks. What’s good is wearing pajamas again while we’re recording because last week was the first time, I wasn’t wearing pajamas as we did a live show. So, maybe for pajamas, it’s been a really difficult the end of the week and I’m really, really grateful for family and chosen family. I’ve been doing a lot of self-care, doing a lot of grieving and mourning and healing. And so, Haka videos from New Zealand, particularly attributes to Muslim communities there have been really, really, really beautiful. My mother got me some swag, which was really nice. And it actually says SHE-RO on it, SHE-RO. A lot people might not know this, but that’s my family nickname. It’s short for Shireen, it’s SHE-RO. That’s what everyone calls me. And so, it’s kind of fun to be called a SHE-RO.
So, my mom got me a Mug and that was really fun. And lastly, New Zealander soccer player, Kosta Barbarouses scored this morning in a match. And he bent down in a prostration as a gesture of solidarity and respect to the Muslim community where he’s from in New Zealand. So, love to and thanks to all the Kiwis, and everybody around the world. I’m watching that and that’s really good because I’m holding really hard on to things that are really good.
Lindsay: We love you, Shireen. Jess.
Jessica: Yeah. I learned to make croissants this week. I took a class.
Shireen: I saw that.
Jessica: And they are really good, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was gonna be. So, I’m hoping this week that I’ll have time to practice at home. We’ll see how it goes. If nothing else, you just end up with like a lot of buttery, flowery things.
We just finished South by Southwest here in Austin and I actually didn’t really go through it at all. I only went to one single thing and that was to see my friend. I’ve mentioned him on the show before. His name is Mobley. He’s a musician. I think he’s wonderful and I got to see him in the middle of the week and that was really a wonderful highlight for me. I love his music in general, but I just think he’s a stellar live performer. It was really fun to see Mobley this week.
Brenda: So, in spring break. So, that’s really nice because my students really needed, they were, no offense students if you ever listen, but they were like, I’m pretty frazzled. They needed a break and if they’re looking frazzled, I’m probably looking twice as frazzled, but I am going to go to Cornell in this week to give a talk invited by Professor Glickman, Larry Glickman, who’s a fabulous historian. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, he’s really like in these days, so important of a voice. So, I’m going to go there and I’m really excited. I’ve never been to Cornell, and it looks pretty. And the other thing that’s good is that this week there was one day that was over 50 degrees and that was amazing. So, I got to run out of time and that was exciting. So, yeah, good week.
Lindsay: That’s incredible. I have to be on Bran and say that what’s good for me is that it’s March madness time. So, I’m gonna try, and get a hot take out about the NCAA women’s tournament bracket, which will be released Monday. I’m gonna be at Maryland with that team while that goes out. I have a couple freelance pieces coming out this week that I’m excited about that are about the Maryland women’s team at a huge feature that, God willing, I think progress is going to come out this week, so about women in coaching. This is the time where I spend my entire Saturday working for about 14 hours straight and didn’t mind one bit because I’m so excited about the stuff I’m working on and it’s a magical time of year for this basketball fan, so that’s what’s good for me.
All right, thank you all so much for listening. We of course want to thank our patriarchs and remind you that if you go to patrion.com/burnitalldown and you pledge as little as $2 a month to support our show, that is how we keep this podcast coming to you on a weekly basis. We have not missed a week. We will not miss a week. We are on fire, but it is all thanks to you. We also want to say we’ve gotten a lot of people reaching out to us, which has been very flattering and exciting about possibly seeing if we could come to their universities and do a live show. Please have whoever is in charge of organizing such a thing. Reach out to us at burnitalldownpodatgmail.com, ’cause look, we will travel for Burn It all Down.
Shireen: Maybe they can bribe an athletic director to have us come over.
Lindsay: You know what? This is true. Well, if you need me to pretend to be a crew person to be on your campus for a little bit so I can be around my cohost, I bet I can be photoshopped as a mean water polo person.
Shireen: No, we can be champion pickleballers.
Lindsay: There you go.
Shireen: That’s what we can be.
Lindsay: Okay. This has gotten off the rails, but I just wanted to say, please reach out to us if you think that your university might have a little bit of money that instead of going to some horrible people that they want to bring to campus, could instead come to us and bring us to campus so we can come see, talk to you alive. And yeah, I think that’s all. I think I’ve gotten completely off track now. Follow us @BurnItDownPod on Twitter, at Burn It All Down on Facebook and Instagram, burnitalldownpodatgmail.com, burnitalldownpod.com on the web. I believe I butchered all of that, but that’s okay. If you’re still listening this late in the show, I think you know how to find us. Okay, thank you all so much. Have a good day.