State of Mind: Are we really still in this place? In this day and age?
Location: Certainly not reading one of the many football blogs I follow or writing my own...
The twitterverse and blogosphere exploded today after comments made by MLSsoccer.com writer and contributor to the Extra Time Radio podcast Simon Borg sparked a furious outcry by female and male football fans alike.
Here's the direct quote from Monday's ExtraTime Radio podcast:
"It's fine if you're a female and you want to be a super-fan. Clearly go for it, that's your choice. But there is something to be said for how appealing that might be to the other sex. Having a woman that's such a fan, like painting your face, tuning in to every podcast. I don't know how many males would be into that.
"It's great that in Kansas City there are a lot of women in the stands, it's great, but for the guy who wants maybe a serious relationship...If you are following casually, but if you're such a die-hard, I don't know, it comes a point that it is a bit of a [I don't want to say] turn-off..."
As a female die-hard fan of football (and former player) and a life long lover of sports, this is not something I am unused to encountering. I've heard countless comments and exclamations of surprise that I, a mere woman would have any interest or understanding of the various sports that I profess to love. That outdated, archaic, misogynistic and offensive attitude is infuriating enough to take from strangers or casual acquaintances - usually I just laugh them off as the ignorant fools that they are. But none of those ignorant fools have ever suggested that my love of the beautiful game might in some way render me unattractive to the opposite sex. My personal experience has been quite the opposite; I've found that most of the men I have dated were delighted that I was willing to get up to watch a match or could intelligently discuss the offside trap or just that I loved the sport as much as they did.
However all of that is beside the point as I do not care if my love for my team or my passion for the game affects how a man (or any other person) perceives me. My love for my team and the sport has nothing to do with anyone else - this is my passion - I do not go to games to troll for guys and quite frankly I do not give a damn if the guy sitting next to me is turned on or not. Just like I would not change my views on the world, my opinions or my appearance to "please" anyone, nor would I change my level of "fandom" to suit another. But what I find the most offensive about this situation is that Simon Borg isn't just some random ignorant fool; he works for MLS and therefore his views are sanctioned by a league that purports to want to grow the game not just in the US but globally - even though the podcast has now been pulled to me nothing will do other than a public dressing down of Borg and his sexist, ignorant statements.
I would like to say that I have never felt excluded or ignored or made to feel unwanted by the many male TFC bloggers and fans that I count as friends and acquaintances among the TFC community. For that boys, I thank you and look forward to our next post-match gathering at the pub to dissect our team's latest adventures on the pitch.
I strongly recommend that you read Alicia Ratteree's fine piece on The Goat Parade as well as this post over at Waking the Red and this article at Jezebel. Enough is enough - we're all fans, period. So ladies; see you at the stadium alright? Now if you'll all excuse me I have a pre-game post to write - try not to be too turned off OK?