Yesterday, it was discovered through a sharp-eyed web user (Megan Soisson) that ESPN had a special comment section for anyone to criticize its female announcers. The Gawker-owned website Jezebel was tipped off and subsequently broke the story. Apparently the comment section was part of a viewer response form to deal with the complaints that ESPN received when it first assigned women to call play-by-play for college football. The section on that form was put up so all the complaints could remain in one place.
ESPN now acknowledges that section should never have been put up in the first place and not allowed to remain for all this time. The company says its proud of its record of hiring women both on-air and off.
We have a statement issued by ESPN:
We apologize for the mistake on the viewer response form template. We’ve been an industry leader for more than 30 years and are extremely proud of the leadership role we continue to play in providing high-profile opportunities and assignments for female commentators – from SportsCenter anchors to play-by-play announcers, analysts, reporters and more. We appreciate that this matter was brought to our attention and it was addressed and deleted immediately.
ESPN says the form was put up
to get feedback on how female announcers were doing in traditional male roles, but it says that was not the forum to do it and action was taken to remove that part of the viewer response form. to allow viewers to contact ESPN and leave comments if they so chose.
The question is who thought of this in the first place and did it have to take someone to point it out for it to be removed?