ESPN’s Ashley Fox Recalls Sexism in the Eagles Locker Room
ESPN this week ran Let Them Wear Towels, a documentary about the challenges that faced the first generation of women sports reporters and the sexism they often found in male locker rooms. Ashley Fox, an ESPN.com columnist, used the occasion to remember her time covering the Eagles for the Inquirer, after she left the Sixers beat:
One of my first days in there, a rookie offensive lineman walked in with a few teammates, saw me and said: “Bet you like seeing all of these swinging d—s in here, don’t you?”
The guys laughed. I didn’t. I had a choice: Say something, or say nothing.
The lockers to the right nearest me belonged to the defensive backs, including Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincentand Bobby Taylor, all established players. The lockers to the left nearest me belonged to the quarterbacks, including Donovan McNabb and A.J. Feeley.
In a raised voice, I said to the lineman: “If I wanted to see swinging d—s, I’d still be covering the Sixers.”
I wasn’t trying to be crude. I was trying to stand my ground. The comment prompted laughter that was louder and no longer directed at me. Players were laughing at the lineman. Vincent stood up, walked over and told the rookie that he got what he deserved, that I was welcome in the locker room and that I was to be treated with respect and dignity. And that, mercifully, was that.
Fox concludes: “Going into the locker room after a game is by far the least appealing part of my job. I dread it. But as Smith so eloquently said in the documentary, that is where the stories are. The heartbreak. The emotion. The anger. The elation. That’s where it is, not outside in some back hallway.”