It’s Time We Give Women’s Sports the Respect it Deserves

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 09: Basketball player Sue Bird poses for a portrait at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

As the NCAA Tournament approaches the Sweet Sixteen, many basketball fans seem to forget about the women’s tournament also going on. Recently I have noticed on social media that every time a women’s team or athlete are featured the comments are flooded with stereotypes about women instead of celebrating and acknowledging their athletic accomplishments. Many of these same people ask why the WNBA doesn’t get the attention the NBA gets. Based on this behavior, it’s obvious one reason women’s sports, in general, lacks respect and attention is the lack of respect shown towards female athletes. These athletes are incredible at what they do and are the best in the world at what they do. They should be celebrated just like their male counterparts instead of criticized and discriminated because of their gender.

It’s Time We Give Women’s Sports the Respect it Deserves

Have You Ever Watched a Women’s Competition?

For every comment or reply I see asking where their aprons are and why aren’t they in the kitchen makes me wonder, how many of these so-called “fans” have watched a women’s competition. I have watched many women’s competitions in multiple sports over the years and every time is amazed at how talented and skilled these women are. You don’t need posturizing dunks to get an entertaining and competitive basketball game. A few years ago, I attended my first WNBA game and was amazed at how talented these athletes are, and how serious the competition is. These women are serious about the game and compete harder than some of their male counterparts.

The rim height is the same in the NBA and WNBA, so making a shot is equally difficult. Brittney Griner coming out of Baylor was rumored to have a tryout with the San Antonio Spurs, and with her height and size, I truly believe she could play in the NBA. I’m not saying women and men should compete against each other, I just want the fans who idolize LeBron James and Stephen Curry to have at least a baseline level of respect for Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore. If you give women’s sports a chance and look at it how it is you might be surprised and end up enjoying it. The likelihood the WNBA ever becomes more popular than the NBA is very low, but good basketball is good basketball.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Some of the greatest athletes of all time are women. From Serena and Venus Williams to Simone Biles and Sue Bird, many female athletes have achieved amazing levels of success. Serena Williams has more Grand Slam titles than the all-time leader for men and has cemented herself as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Natalie Coughlin has the third most Olympic medals of anyone in U.S. history only behind Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. Three of the top ten most decorated Americans in the Olympics are women. The Connecticut Huskies women are tied with the UCLA Bruins men’s team for the most NCAA Basketball championships with 11. The Huskies have won ten championships since 2000, something no men’s team has come even close to matching.

These accomplishments and success deserve to be celebrated and appreciated much more and should be respected and acknowledged by anyone who considers themselves a fan. Many of these comments come from children and adolescents who likely lack the maturity to realize what they’re doing. To the others who don’t care I raise this question, could you beat Sue Bird one-on-one, or swim 100 m faster than Katie Ledecky? Actions speak louder than words if you believe these women are not athletic let’s see you try to beat them. Back up your ideas that just because they are women, they aren’t athletic or talented.

The Last Word

This is a bigger issue than some comments on Instagram, women’s sports have never had the respect the male version has. You could debate whether men are genetically more athletic but that’s beyond the issue. Real sports fans should begin to appreciate the women who work as hard if not harder than their male counterparts to achieve greatness. Because of the significant gap between the WNBA and NBA these athletes make so little in America they spend the offseason playing overseas to pay the bills and make a living. The fact that they make more money overseas but play in America because they love the game says a lot about them. As a community of devoted and passionate fans, we need to begin to appreciate women’s sports. It doesn’t need to get more popular than the NBA or any other male league, but at least to the point where these athletes can play the game they love and get the respect and recognition they deserve.

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