"...basketball is just a platform for me to inspire people."
In a social media obsessed world where every brand, body, and company resides in a fishbowl, it's incredibly inspiring to see people who use their platform for the greater good. It's also incredibly uninspiring to see people who don't.
Many eyes peered through the glass at Sports Illustrated contributor Andy Benoit this week, as he took to Twitter to articulate his disdain on the FIFA's Women's World Cup. He then dismissed women's sports in general referring to them as "not worth watching".
Unfortunately for SI's Benoit, when the eyes of the world are watching, so are Amy Poehler's and Seth Meyers'. Reuniting on Meyers' Late Night show, the two former Saturday Night Live castmates addressed the situation head on, taking down both Benoit, and other critics of women's soccer with their popular "Really?!" skit.
As a former collegiate athlete, and woman in the field of sports business, I must confess, this skit not only made my day, it made my week. If you haven't seen it, the hilarity makes for a MUST watch (full video here). But beyond the humor, lies a powerful message, and reminder for us all when faced with criticism.
Ignore the ignorant.
When you exude passion for your craft, many voices will attempt to crack the foundation of your beliefs with their opinions or facts. While people like Benoit are certainly entitled to their opinion, exercising a heightened level of expertise in your field will elevate your position over those who don't. In this case, the facts are as such...
- When the U.S. Women's National Team defeated Colombia 2-0, they drew 4.7 million viewers without hardly any publicity- setting a record as the most-watched soccer telecast ever on the FOX family of networks.
- Canada's Women's World Cup game had more viewers than the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup final.
- FOX Sports GO, the streaming service of FOX Sports, saw over 120,000 unique streamers via computer or via smartphone, making it the highest viewed simulcast in the app's history, beating the 2014 World Series Game 7
The popular "Really?!" segment on Saturday Night Live allowed Poehler and Meyers to inject humor into obvious injustices such as this one. In the same vein, when faced with criticism, infusing a bit of levity into your own personal situation can help diffuse a full on controversy.
Don't hold back.
While Poehler and Meyers both made their names from network success, they took the opportunity to jab the networks for their lack of coverage, questioning why women's sports are broadcasted on secondary channels.
"Nobody gets Fox Sports 1! Nobody knows where it is! Really? Come on networks!"
Benoit apologized, taking to Twitter once again. This time, in a less critical, more humbling fashion...
Using my own platform for the greater good, I too, among the incredulous like Poehler and Meyer, find myself left with only one question...