Facts behind female sportscaster controversy
A few years ago, I got dunked into some really hot water by the Globe and Mail.
While co-hosting a show on another radio station the discussion turned to female sportscasters, and I chimed in.
"I've worked with a lot of female broadcasters over the years and, to be honest, none of them know as much about sports as I do."
But before accusing yours truly of being a male sportscasting chauvinist, you need to avoid making the same mistake as the Globe and some of its readers who roasted me over the story. Admittedly, a radio guy ripping the media is straight out of the old "pot calling the kettle black" routine. But the fact is, the newspaper made me look bad by leaving an important "but" out of the equation.
After commenting on female sportscasters, I went on to explain to the radio audience why I actually made the observation; which was really just the beginning of a larger point.
Many young males who dream of becoming sportscasters believe sports knowledge is the only thing that matters and they can't understand why so many women land such good gigs, especially on television. However, as I pointed out following my initial radio comment, (The only one the Globe published, of course, in the interests of "sensationalizing" the story) there are many things that go into sportscasting beyond the ability to name the entire starting line-up of the Houston Astros. A solid command of the language, writing talent, reporting skill and yes......how good you look on camera, are also important factors. Since the audience tuning in to TSN and Sportsnet is predominantly male, it only makes sense that an attractive woman who can deliver the goods is something TV execs are always on the lookout for.
More importantly, however, and something that, again, the Globe and Mail chose to leave out of my radio observations, I've been very fortunate to work with a number of outstanding female broadcasters.
Martine Gaillard and I shared an anchor desk at Rogers Sportsnet and while I sat beside her butchering the names of countless European tennis players, Martine was always word-perfect and rarely made a single stumble on a highlight package involving any sport.
Lisa Bowes was my teammate at TSN; one of the best reporters in the country who put together stories I could only dream of producing.
With that said, neither Martine or Lisa could ever beat me in a sports trivia contest; even though a lot of Globe readers (and per users of this blog as well) would love to see the ladies make me eat those words. But the key to my radio message, something the Globe completely missed, is that everybody brings different talents to the table in sportscasting and every other profession. That's what turns a team into a winning organization.
Oh, and if you're still steamed about that cocky comment regarding my superior sports knowledge?
There's something you should know. I finally met my match right here at NewsTalk 1010. Fellow sports blogger Suzette Francis also handles our radio station's reporting duties for the Toronto Raptors. And while I'm confident I could take her in a hockey trivia contest, "Suzie Franchise" absolutely kills me when it comes to basketball, tennis, soccer and all things Olympic-related.
But don't tell the Globe and Mail because I can already see the headline.
"Toth says female sportscasters know nothing about hockey".
Now that I think about it, it was a male Globe reporter who pulled off the hatchet job that did a lot of damage to my career.
So, hey..... maybe the Globe should get rid of the guy, because there's no question they could find a female reporter who'd be a lot better.