This past week, a Division 1 College Basketball coach took the national stage to offer hate, prejudice and cowardice during the NCAA Tournament. Coach Muffet McGraw, leader of Notre Dame’s Women’s basketball team told the world that she would not hire a male coach on her staff. Prejudice and sexism can’t be defined any better!
“When you look at men’s basketball, 99 percent of the jobs go to men, why shouldn’t 100 or 99 percent of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women?” McGraw said. “People hire people who look like them. That’s the problem.”
No, Coach McGraw, the problem is that public figures like you are offering contempt toward anyone who doesn’t look like you! As a matter of fact, your comments were made at the Women’s Final Four where two of the four coaches are men. Those men happen to care enough about the women’s game to be successful. They are a great example to the nation and their lady-players. Machismo aside, those two coaches, are teaching the game, challenging their players and bringing those ladies to the highest level in college basketball, which is exactly what you have endeavored to do.
Truly, McGraw’s prejudice toward men is out of place at a liberal arts institution of higher education. McGraw could have used this national stage to highlight inclusion in the woman’s sport. Instead, she slighted men. The Notre Dame coach could have looked at her opponent this past weekend and praised Geno Auriemma who is an immigrant to our country. Instead, she slighted this immigrant who built arguably the most powerful women’s program in country during a time when women’s sports were scoffed at and considered “less than.” He put his head down, ignored the ugly slights, stuck with it and became the U.S. Women’s National Coach for 7 years winning two world championships. Today, he is a Basketball Hall of Famer who is arguably the biggest contributor to the success women’s college basketball. By the way, he has 11 national titles too.
McGraw continued to offer ignorance as she discussed the fact that women playing college sports do not have female leaders to look up to and emulate.
“All these millions of girls that play sports across the country, we’re teaching them great things about life skills, but wouldn’t it be great if we could teach them to watch how women lead?” asked McGraw, rhetorically.
Leadership has nothing to do with gender. Again, you missed it Coach McGraw. Our country is blessed with opportunities for women across the board. Naysayers love to tell the world about the glass ceiling for women and complain that women do not enjoy equal pay. Some of that is accurate but the flip slide is that in the 243 years we have been a nation, we have matured faster regarding diversity and opportunity, particularly for women, then most countries.
More importantly, “girls across the country” are intelligent enough to see leadership as a trait and not a gender issue. Kids growing up today, have seen women football coaches, women CEOs, women military leaders, women in government and women leading households; stay-at-home moms are leaders and have nothing to apologize for when choosing to rear our country’s most important asset. Leadership is a trait, that doesn’t have any “private parts.” Women have been leaders in our country since Betsy Ross and a D-1 college coach can’t figure that out.
As McGraw bemoaned the gender issues in her spiteful interview, she should have looked in the mirror. Perhaps, women should be self-reflective when they question the lack of success in terms of their status in the sporting world. Post Title IX in 1972, women’s sports and women managing various college programs spiked but lulled shortly thereafter. Who is to blame for that lull? Sports fans, you have a fifty percent chance to get this answer right.
Historically, famous female athletes made their name despite the challenge women were facing in sports. Nancy Lopez, Billie Jean King, Chris Everett, Brandi Chastain, Cheryl Miller and even our first female NFL coach, Jennifer Welter became stars in the sporting world and marketed themselves well. How did those ladies get it right, but McGraw thinks that men in women’s basketball are prohibitive?
Women as a group didn’t “push the envelope” and compel equal dollars at the bargaining table. They didn’t collectively tell the world that Title IX didn’t go far enough i.e. women coaching women wasn’t good enough. As a group, they didn’t walk off the court, or the links when the lady victor’s purse was lesser than the “fella’s” take-home pay. Furthermore, our women’s soccer teams didn’t capitalize, enough, on their international success while the men’s “red-white-and-blue footballers” continually let our nation down in the World Cup and other international competition.
Women athletes just haven’t done a great job of marketing what they bring as athletes, coaches and sports executives. Instead, they let stupidity like McGraw’s mindless rhetoric dominate the headlines that sets them back again and again.
This past week, Coach McGraw epitomized the fear that Ms. Muffet felt when the spider sat down beside her. And, she did it on a platform that has been uber-successful in marketing women athletes. These ladies play the game of basketball the way it was meant to be played. Yet, McGraw took this opportunity to divide sports fans.
Regardless of the outcome of the Women’s Final Four, the NCAA should lead and compel Coach McGraw to attend a diversity class. She needs to understand that men are not the enemy.
Frankly, she should consider resigning before she does any more damage to our nation’s great lady-athletes. Women have come too far and are too important to our nation’s fabric to let someone like McGraw throw shade on their success. Shame on her.