Seven Tips For Making “Playful Banter” About Women In Sport

CC: Australia's diverse sports media.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Happy Monday, Australia — and welcome to another round of debate over the molten garbage which continues to flow freely from Eddie McGuire’s mouth. After previously comparing Indigenous footballer and former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes to an ape, and making a female co-worker’s life “hell” with ignorant views and alleged sexual remarks, the Collingwood Football Club President and long-time Triple M presenter has made a ‘joke’ about wanting to drown a female AFL journalist.


haha, 51-year-old highly-paid professional broadcaster boiz will be boiz

Though McGuire’s comments went to air last Monday during the Big Freeze fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease at the MCG, the bulk of the controversy has taken place over the past 24 hours. Freelance sports journalist Erin Riley drew attention to the incident in a blog post over the weekend and the story’s since been picked up nation-wide.

Responding to widespread claims he trivialised violence against women (many have pointed out this came in the same week the AFL were raising awareness of domestic violence), McGuire’s made a non-apology stating he’s “really disappointed that these comments have led to these feelings from people”. He suggested that “there was no malice involved” in his joke about drowning a woman at a family event at the MCG and the comments were made “in the spirit of the fun of the day”.

This hasn’t gone over so well. Jessica Rowe, the female former co-worker who spoke out about being harassed by McGuire in the past has demanded he be held to account on Studio 10. Speaking on triple j this morning, Alex Dyson has echoed this sentiment. In a passionate statement, Dyson stated McGuire’s words are indicative of a larger culture of men getting away with harmful “bullshit” under the pretence of it all being a “joke”.

Caroline Wilson, the award-winning journalist who was the target of McGuire’s comments, has outright rejected his apology. “I don’t accept that it was playful banter,” she said on 3AW this morning. “It’s like casual racism; casual violent language might be meant as a joke, but I wonder how many times we have to draw this line in the sand.”

From casting a quick eye over the history of sexist controversies in sport in this country, the answer is pretty clear. Fellas, here’s what you’ve hopefully learned so far:

1. Don’t Joke About Drowning A Female Colleague (Or Anyone, Really)

Employers generally look unfavourably on employees who make wild-eyed statements about holding people’s heads under water until they are no longer breathing. This can be exacerbated by a number of factors including but not limited to: boasting about this to your workmates and trying to recruit them to your plan, validating the move by saying it’s all for charity, and being a seasoned broadcaster with direct influence over millions of listeners around the country.

It’s not said enough in journalism school but, if you’re a member of the media, you should really suppress any and all urges which relate to murder.

2. Don’t Proposition Women For Sex On Live TV

Here are some thoughts, in descending order, that may be going through a woman’s head while interviewing you about the sport you play: your performance on the field, the overall work of your team, broader issues going on in the sport she could ask you about, relevant questions about your health or personal life, how much time is left in your chat, the weather, literally everything else in her life, your penis.

3. Don’t Talk About The Fuckability Or Marital Status Of Your Female Co-workers 

Starting a new job can be hard. Starting a new job amid a flurry of online abuse alongisde a 70-year-old man who’s recently made some sweet jokes about you being “not good looking”, “plumpish”, and having “not a great IQ” on national radio is probably slightly harder.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 2.41.33 PM

*breathes heavily*

“I’m not sure if she’s Mrs Maddern, I’m not sure what to call her,” Footy Show co-host Sam Newman continued, inexorably. “[New co-host Samantha Maddern] has been married a couple of times someone said. I might [use her first show to] discuss how she found matrimonial life because I can speak voluminously about that.”

4. Don’t Dress A Mannequin In Lingerie, Name It After A Female Journalist, And Fondle It

“I’m yet to understand what’s insulting about putting clothes on a mannequin,” repeat offender on this list, Sam Newman, mere hours after affixing the face of a revered journalist to a nude plastic body on TV. “This was not a gender thing,” he said, one year before the Australian Communications and Media Authority would rule “the broadcast was likely, in all the circumstances, to have provoked severe ridicule against the journalist on the grounds of gender.”



5. Don’t Get Your Dick Out

If you do all of the above, and then choose to aid your sports commentary show by hiring a young woman to dress in a g-string and sexy nurse outfit, and then coax her into bending over for the live studio audience and cameras, please go to all necessary lengths to keep your penis in your pants.

And, if you do all that, if there’s no way around it, please don’t re-tell the story in depth on radio while talking about your anthropomorphic dick coming out to “have a sniff”.

6. Don’t Ask Female Sports Stars To Twirl Like A Five-Year-Old On Their First Day Of Ballet

These are some of the most physically powerful women in the world who have mastered the art of smacking balls with great force. It is unwise to get on their bad side.

7. Don’t Quiz Female Journos On Their Boobs And Sex Lives

Here are some questions the producers and hosts of The Kyle and Jackie O show lined up for sports journalist and Footy Show regular Erin Molan in 2014:

– ‘Have you had a boob job? I liked looking at your tits last night on TV.’

– ‘But why were you wearing a dress?’

– ‘How many famous sportspeople have you slept with?’

– ‘No. Really. How many and who?’

– ‘Is your family disappointed in you? They’re probably drug addicts.’

– ‘Did you date this other man I know? I think you did.’

For some reason, this was her last appearance on the show.

Maybe we’ll get there one day!

Maybe not!