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I'm not your 'sweet baby': What's with sexual harassment in the sports world? Add to ...

So far 2011 hasn’t proven to be the year of enlightenment, at least as far as certain sports figures are concerned.

This week, a British sports channel fired one of its long-time commentators after he and a colleague were caught on camera making sexist cracks about a female linesman prior to a soccer match. After trading quips about the looks of official Sian Massey, Andy Gray sniped, what do women “know about the offside rule anyway?”

Ms. Massey has stepped down from her next match, to let the uproar die down in Britain. It’s not the first time Mr. Gray, who seems just delightful, has been in hot water, and another video soon unearthed of his gentlemanly conduct with a female colleague on set.

But Mr. Gray, and his equally boorish co-worked Richard Keys aren’t alone, sadly - especially, it seems, in the sports world.

Earlier this month, ESPN also fired its play-by-play commentator, Ron Franklin, for comments he made to sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards leading up to the Fiesta Bowl. Ms. Edwards, an Emmy-award nominated sports reporter, attempted to join in on a conversation about a local election, only to have Mr. Franklin tell her: “Listen to me, sweet baby, let me tell you something.”

When Ms. Franklin told him not to speak to her like that, he reportedly replied. “OK, then, listen to me, asshole.

And the list goes on. There’s NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who is now facing a sexual harassment lawsuit for allegedly requesting sexual favours from female massage therapists hired by his team, the New York Jets. (The woman say they were not hired back after refusing the request.)

And then there’s the delightful baseball commentator Rob Dibble who, last summer, circled two women sitting behind home plate and began to pontificate about what they might be discussing. “There must be a sale tomorrow going on here or something....,” the colour commentator for the Washington Nationals sagely remarked, later suggested that perhaps they were filming an episode of “real Housewives of D.C.”

Those comments got Mr. Dibble fired.

So weigh in, good readers? Do these guys deserve to be fired? Will it change anything? And what’s the story in your own workplaces?

Follow on Twitter: @ErinAnderssen

 

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