Thursday 23 November 2017

Time for sports media to pull our weight on gender issues

Women’s sport is of course a health, education and social policy issue
Women’s sport is of course a health, education and social policy issue

Ger Gilroy

My favourite part of the working week is the 40 seconds or so of radio where our Saturday panel sting is played.

You might be familiar with the sting - it starts with some profanity when Larry Merchant tells Floyd Mayweather what he thinks of him, meanders through some wisdom from Wooly, Brian Kerr and Anthony Daly, includes some Ruby Walsh pre-race motivational tactics and finishes with a classic David Brady quote.

I love it because it means our Saturday panel is about to start. Each week we never know where it's going to take us. I'm generally nervous about what's in store, in an excited way because I don't want to screw it up.

We ask people to reveal a bit about themselves and share some honesty with us and that means something.

We've been doing it five years and have had insight and honesty, heart-breaking stories of injury, defeat and failure, we've had hope, success and brilliance explained.

Until last weekend we'd never had an all-female panel.

That was a mistake. It won't be another five years before we do it again. Women's sport is of course a health, education and social policy issue.

Most importantly of all. it's just sport, like United or the Dubs is just sport.

For a commercial broadcaster there's a line to walk where we know that covering Manchester United, the Dublin footballers, the Ireland soccer team and the Irish rugby team all the time will generate the biggest listenership.

But that's not enough and it can't be an excuse either. Our best bits are generally when we cover events beyond the field.

We need to be about what it's like to be alive in Ireland now, no matter who you are. We can change the world, right?

Irish Independent

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