Sports Today – by: Dean Howe
Douse the lights, please. Hand me that towel over there. Quick. Give me the adhesive tape.
A woman in the lockerroom!
It’s true guys. All those things you have been reading in New York and Boston and Chicago about women journalists invading once-before-only male lockerrooms in pursuit of the real story is true.
Found out about it first hand on Tuesday night when the Boston Celtics played the Detroit Pistons at the Silverdome.
There I was, in the Celtics’ lockerroom, getting the real story from the star of the game, one Chris Ford who, incidentally, was striking a nude pose while sitting on a stool in front of his locker.
The information was coming fast and furious. Good stuff to write about.
And then came a voice from right beside me, an unmistakable soprano voice, “What did you think about the comeback tonight?”
Egads. A woman’s voice.
It was Ann Doyle of WJBK-TV in Detroit, right there in the midst of that male nudity, asking questions like every professional journalist should.
I lost my train of thought. I was embarrassed.
These lockerrooms after a game are a little uncomfortable anyway.
Picture the scene if you can: Thirty guys with ties and jackets on, pencils in hand, standing around a single figure, most of the time stark naked, getting the real story.
And there are other players walking to and from the showers, snapping towels at each other, or expletives.
Now throw a woman into this group and it can really be a crazy scene.
But Ann was very professional, just doing her job. She had just as much right in here as I did.
She would say later, “I’m used to it by now. The first time I did it was in the Detroit Express lockerroom last year.”
Why did Ann feel it was necessary to go charge in there with the rest, considering the fact that she had no deadline to meet, no report to file until the following day?
“It was a very important game,” said Ann. “I just felt I would have missed a lot by not being in there, or by waiting until later on when everybody was dressed and gone.”
Ann is right about that. Players are more accessible, and the Celtics were ready to talk following their overtime victory over the Pistons. Some of the tumult, the enthusiasm, the candid explanations of the game might have vanished had Ann waited in the lobby.
Still, it was an uncomfortable feeling for me. I could see a few of the media men behind me, giving out with the snickers.
Male chauvinists, all of you.
Ann continued to pose questions.
She told me later, “I don’t think that the player I was talking to (Ford) was on bit uncomfortable with me being there,” Ann the daughter of veteran Detroit sportscaster Vince Doyle, said. “The other players didn’t seem to mind either. I’m sure they’ve been through it before.”
Ann said she has encountered some opposition, but most of that from her journalist peers on the male side.
“Last year when the Tigers announced their new policy that they would allow
women reporters in the lockerroom, Pete Sark (of WFDF radio in Flint) objected,” said Ann. “He said it would destroy the atmosphere for the other writers or broadcasters, all male. I just told him, ‘That’s too bad. You’ll get used to it.’”
True enough. We live in a new era and all women, most assuredly, should have the same rights as men, be it in business, or journalism, or whatever.
My only question is, some day, will the gals allow the male reporters in their lockerroom following a game?
Or will they call it an invasion of privacy?
That day is coming.
Hmmm. Let’s see now. Howard Cosell can talk to Anne Meyers, the female basketball star, while she’s in the shower if that’s where the real story is to be found.
Just hope Raquel Welch doesn’t decide to forsake Hollywood for a career in pro basketball.
Even us non-chauvinists would find it difficult to interview Raquel in the buff.