Sunday 23 October 2016

Say it isn't so, Joe. When it comes to sport, it's time to Wyse-up

Published 22/05/2014 | 02:30

Pundit Joe Brolly. Picture: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Pundit Joe Brolly. Picture: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

I'm sickened. Disgusted actually. Joe Brolly's infamous tweet about Sky Sports new GAA presenter Rachel Wyse personally offended me. Brolly tweeted: "SKY = TV3 plus Baywatch Babe". I reported on live GAA for TV3 in the past. But I never got a similar glowing 'Baywatch babe' reference from bold-boy Brolly. Damn.

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Because that's all us women in sport are, right? Posers; preening, posturing and swishing our hair around as we try and keep our heads just above the waterline. Those red 'Baywatch' lifeguard floats really come in handy too. Saves us from sinking.

You're an intelligent guy Joe right? Surely you knew the storm this would create; throwing a bit of bait into the twittersphere for some half-wits to gobble up and spit out their own hyper-educated views. There was plenty of sensible reaction too. No need to add the word 'thankfully' here.

So were Brolly's tweets sexist or stupid? Both? Yes I agree. My favourite offering was this tweet from him: "she (Ms Wyse) doesn't look like she ever stood under a dropping ball on the edge of the square with Sean Marty Lockhart."

Ah. You gotta love when folk descend into the 'old boys' club' territory with their casual sexism. So let's get this straight Joe – to be a GAA reporter/presenter, you've got to have experienced the euphoria of dancing with a player like Sean Marty on the square?

Have you posed similar questions to male presenters? Did the excellent RTE presenter Michael Lyster play inter-county football? Poor Brian Carney – Sky Sports' other GAA presenter – he must be wondering what he's got to do to gain your appreciation.

Brolly's view reminds me of that 1980s' TV ad. "You can't sing, you can't dance, you look awful . . . you'll go a long way". So because a female presenter is glamorous, this should be her downfall because it's clearly the only reason she's on air? What happened to judging women on their work? Glamorous or otherwise. There was poetic beauty in this tweet from Brolly: "Sky's entrenched beautiful anchor formula is shamelessly sexist." Do I need to point out how sexist this comment is?

When is the attitude towards women working in sport going to become a level playing field?

Have we evolved at all that a leading TV analyst in this country makes a derogatory and degrading remark about a female presenter? And, more importantly, undermines her job. Before she's even started it. And I'm not buying his apology. Too late. Can we change the dial please? Do we need to constantly judge women on the way they look. Last year, BBC presenter John Inverdale landed himself in trouble during Wimbledon when he opined that Marion Bartoli – who was about to play in the women's singles final – was "never going to be much of a looker". He subsequently apologised.

Earlier this week, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore got off scot free over sexist emails he sent to friends.

In the emails, he joked about keeping a female colleague "off your shaft" and the "irrationality" of women who've children. Stay classy Richard.

Brolly has stirred controversy before. He might even wear a Mario Balotelli styled 'Why Always Me?' T-shirt next time he's on air. Maybe Joe you should take on board the surname of the woman you insulted. And Wyse-up.

Sinead Kissane is a sports presenter and reporter with TV3

Irish Independent

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