Dude is not the default
The way we view both equity and equality in sports needs fundamental reassessing
When we talk about gender equality in professional sports, we gravitate towards ideas of opportunity, participation, and visibility. The simplest version of this thinking is that there should be a women's version of an existing men's league.
A more nuanced discussion around quality would include looking at what makes the best professional leagues “professional.” World-class venues for staging games; training regimens, facilities, nutrition, and the support staff that come with it; charter flights for road games; and so on and so forth. It's not about providing luxury, it's about providing the amenities that make it easier for professional athletes to perform at their best. Some of those amenities exist in women's leagues but as we've seen this past week, Breanna Stewart vocally campaigned for charter flights in the WNBA, and football matches were postponed because most stadia occupied by women's clubs don't have undersoil heating. We haven't even begun to mention all of the infrastructure that exists at other levels, including minor leagues, club academies, college, and grassroots clubs. Or creating the opportunities that allow the best people for the job — regardless of gender — to occupy seats in front offices.
That's just listing some of the things that already exist in men's leagues. There's also a raft of considerations more specific to women that, without them, prevent them from performing at their best. Male athletes never have to walk onto the field of play wearing white shorts and worry if their blood will, er, bleed through. Male athletes don’t get stuck wearing cleats designed for the feet of another gender, nor are they asked to make do with leftover uniforms from the "main" club. All of the research done to prevent major injuries like ACL tears (which are much more prevalent in women) are based almost solely on male bodies. And the Las Vegas Aces' treatment of Dearica Hamby, as well as Olympique Lyonnais' withholding of Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir's salary, tells us that we have a long way to go to improve the working conditions and support for pregnant athletes.
As we've seen in discussions around racial equality, evening the playing field is not simply about giving everybody the same amount. It requires recognizing the respective starting points and the unique needs of all the groups involved, and then furnishing the path to equality as needed. It probably also requires not treating male as default while modifying everything else relative to that default. Even if we do all this, it doesn’t take into account where trans athletes fit into the sports landscape.
Of course, we probably have to proceed with some baby steps, but after those steps have been taken, let's pave a more comfortable road to tread on.
The top three base stealers of the last 25 years have one former club in common (though none them ever played together). What is the squadron in question?
In the past 25 NFL drafts, all first overall picks have been defensive ends or quarterbacks — except two, who are offensive tackles. Both players have made the Pro Bowl multiple times, and played their college football in the same state. Name either of them.
Over the past 25 NHL seasons, the two forwards with the most ice time accumulated were teammates for over 12 seasons (non-continuously). For what club did they play together?
The NBA player who has accumulated the most personal fouls over the past 25 seasons is also the player who has played the most NBA regular season games in that timespan. Who is he?
Answers from last week’s issue
In the two rounds of the 2018 NBA Entry Draft, five drafted players had a “Jr.” after their names, one player had a “III,” and one player had a “IV.” Name all seven.
The sequels: Marvin Bagley III (2nd overall), Jaren Jackson Jr. (4th), Wendell Carter Jr. (7th), Michael Porter Jr. (14th), Tony Brown Jr. (15th), Lonnie Walker IV (18th), and Gary Trent Jr. (37th).
Of the 18 goalies who played/have played in the most (regular season) NHL games, 11 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Every one of the remaining seven have represented their country at the Olympics. Name at least five of them.
The magnificent seven: Marc-André Fleury (5th all-time), Curtis Joseph (7th), Henrik Lundqvist (9th), John Vanbiesbrouck (11th), Sean Burke (15th), Nikolai Khabibulin (17th), and Ryan Miller (18th).
Of the 18 quarterbacks who passed/have passed for the most (regular season) NFL yards, 16 spent their entire careers wearing the same number. Name the two QBs who didn’t.
Carson Palmer (15th all-time) and Vinny Testaverde (16th) are the only quarterbacks in the top 18 who changed numbers in their careers.
Since the year 2000 — and not including the abbreviated 2020 season — seven pitchers have led their league in wins with a total less than 18. Name at least four of them.
Gerrit Cole led the American League with 16 wins in 2021, and six pitchers tied for the National League with 16 wins in 2006 — Aaron Harang, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Brandon Webb, and Carlos Zambrano.
RIP Athletics legend Sal Bando.
Many thanks to Skylar Diggins-Smith for being named her name and to you for being named your name, unless your name is Mike Clevinger.
Until next week, be the Ezequiel Carrera you wish to see in the world.