This week ESPN suspended and then fired or “let go” 68-year old reporter/commentator Ron Franklin. Franklin called one of his colleagues, Jeannine Edwards, “sweet baby” during a meeting. When Edwards noted her displeasure with his condescending demeanor, Franklin called her an asshole. Franklin was supposed to work the Fiesta Bowl but was relieved of that assignment and was subsequently fired.
Cheers from some on this matter. Jeers from others. Some (anonymous commenters) say ESPN is “to (sic) PC” and that Franklin is a far better reporter than little known Edwards who apparently needs bigger breasts in order for any of this to matter. (Seriously, there is nothing better for checking one’s gag reflex than reading the comments on some of these stories. These are all from the above link.)
A more thoughtful piece of writing came from Lori Heine at News Real Blog. Given that Ms. Heine describes herself as a recovering leftist, I knew what was coming. And, not surprisingly, I heartily disagree. But at least she doesn’t think Ms. Edwards needs bigger breasts to get over this whole thing. She does think that she–and by extension, all women–should just stop caring about these things men say. We’re not sweet babies, but cry babies, according to Heine.
I don’t know why others might care about this; but I care, because it matters. And if we don’t care about what matters…well then, what are we here for? Not to get all existentialist or anything but, seriously. What I am supposed to care about? What do people who aren’t feminists or concerned with social justice and equality care about? A lot of them seem to care about what the feminists and liberals are crying about, I’ve found.
I don’t think Edwards was crying. I think she was caring; about how she was treated, and the respect she deserves and hopefully, though not necessarily, how other colleagues–especially female colleagues–are treated and (dis)respected.
Heine thinks that crying is weak. Men don’t cry and they don’t care, says Heine. I think if you care, you can’t help the crying. And let’s just note that one of the theories about why men die, on average, five years earlier than women is because they don’t care: about their health, taking risks, and alcohol, nicotine and drug consumption. And let me also note that some of current economic and political conundrums are because a lot of people just didn’t care–except about themselves.