Mike Francesa, the self-proclaimed king of New York sports radio, has been a fixture in the business for years. Early this year he announced he would be leaving WFAN at the end of the 2017.
What he is going to do after his departure is unclear at this point. He said leaving WFAN, where he’s been since 1987, doesn’t mean he’s not going to work again or that he’s leaving the business altogether.
It just means “this part of his life is over.”
Can I just say THANK GOD?!
This man has had a tremendous amount of success. I’m not one to begrudge a person in this business for having success and experiencing the type of longevity people scrambling to make it in this industry covet.
In fact, congratulations Mike! But don’t let the door hit you in the ###.
People in this business, particularly sports talk radio personalities, relish in a good controversy. Anything that ignites a reaction, good or bad, means listeners. And listeners are the life blood of this business.
But anyone who takes the kind of stance on women in professional sports that Francesa does can go take a long walk off a short cliff.
People like Francesa are part of a systemic problem in this industry that bases one’s credentials on what gender box is marked on your birth certificate.
If you aren’t familiar with what I’m referring to, let me catch you up real quick.
Francesa recently claimed that women coaching professional male basketball players is an impossibility. He followed up his opinion by saying “That’s not being chauvinist. That’s not being Stone Aged. That’s just being reasonable. … It is difficult for men to run these rooms.”
The New York Post did an excellent piece on Francesa’s assertions pointing out that his evidence to back up his “theory” is the lack of women coaching at the collegiate level. Apparently that’s the only way to develop the type of resume needed for NBA players to respect you enough to listen to what you have to say.
Let me clarify something. Women are not incapable of coaching men in the college ranks. What they are is devoid of the opportunity. And heaven forbid they take the path of least resistance when it comes to sexism and male chauvinism and instead opt to coach women in order to, oh I don’t know, be employed.
Francesa took it further and implied it is NBA players that would not respond to being disciplined by a woman because of THEIR misogyny NOT HIS. He even said that if a woman ever got the “gig” it would be a publicity stunt that wouldn’t last.
Oh Lord help me now.
Being disciplined? What is this some kind of Hoosiers version of 50 Shades of Grey?
A publicity stunt? May I remind you Mr. Francesa that Gregg Popovich has already hired a female assistant coach. In case you missed it her name is Becky Hammon.
What part of Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs have ever been about garnering publicity? This is a team that has been in the NBA playoffs for 20 straight years with a head coach and superstars that would prefer to drink wine in their flannel shirts than be the center of any kind of attention.
Do you really think hiring Becky Hammon was a publicity stunt?
I’ll concede this, the “gig” he’s referring to is most likely a head coaching job. But most head coaches start right where Becky Hammon is right now. And Francesa probably has no clue who Becky Hammon is nor is he likely familiar with her resume so I’ll take a moment to familiarize him with her qualifications.
- 16-year WNBA veteran
- 6-time WNBA All-Star
- 2-time All-WNBA First Team
- 2-time All-WNBA Second Team
- Named one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players All-Time
- 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist
- All-around legit badass
She did all of this going undrafted after being overlooked for her meger 5’6″ frame.
No, she is not an NBA head coach…yet. But she is a monster. She is a woman that stares people like Mike Francesa in the face every day and kicks their misogyny to the curb.
There is one thing I’ve learned in this business that Mike Francesa will never be able to wrap his mind around. Game recognizes game.
The WNBA has a bad wrap (and it’s unwarranted). Those who play and have played in that league know what they’re stepping into. But let me make this clear, those male players Francesa is referring to, that will never take to a woman disciplining them, have respect for other basketball players.
They see another athlete in uniform that laces up their shoes the same way they do. One that goes out and competes, works on their game and deals with more crap than most men would ever be able to comprehend.
These women continually beat down perception every day to prove that basketball is universal. And by universal I mean unbiased as to what genitalia the person with the ball in their hands possesses.
I don’t want to become some extreme feminist, WNBA apologist or advocate for gay rights (which is what my blogs feel like they are becoming). That is not my purpose in life. My purpose is to do my job covering the Sacramento Kings and working in sports talk radio without having to deal with the incessant ignorance of people who I can only conclude must have been dropped on their heads as babies.
I defend these things because it is a travesty that such things even need to be defended.
I am sick and tired of people like Candice Wiggins, Amar’e Stoudamire, Debbie Schlussel (I implore you to read this piece I wrote for the Arizona Republic back in 2005) and Mike Francesa. I’m sick of the bigotry, homophobia, sexism and hate that is spewing out of their mouths.
The only way people like this will ever be silenced is for the voices of the outraged to rise above the hate and vitriol they spew and drown out their ignorance.