Broadcasting stalwarts Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm will announce this Thursday nights' NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings on Amazon Prime Video's streaming platform as an alternative to the Fox broadcast crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
The fact that they got the opportunity shouldn't be surprising if you base it simply on their talent and qualifications. Kremer is currently the chief correspondent for the NFL Network, a former sideline reporter for NBC's Sunday Night Football, a reporter for HBO's Emmy award-winning show, Real Sports, and recent winner of Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, for "long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football."
Storm is a vaunted ESPN SportsCenter anchor (the best job in all of sports?) and an experienced broadcaster whose resume includes the Olympics, the NBA and WNBA, Wimbledon, and Major League Baseball.
Except it's not.
While many sports broadcasting experts are bewildered it hasn't happened sooner, like the Sporting News' David Steele, who wrote, "Wondering why someone like Andrea Kremer had to wait this long for a gig like this and had to get it on a streaming service but [recently retired Cowboys tight end] Jason Witten gets escorted right to the front of the line", others are bewildered it's happening at all. Mostly men.
I so desperately wanted a near-universal rallying around this announcement as a positive step forward in the ongoing fight for women's equality. I have a daughter who wants to become a movie director, another male-dominated profession, so perhaps I have some extra zest in this desire.
I guess, in truth, I'm not surprised by some of the comments, even though I wanted to be. There are plenty of supportive comments, like that of Tyler Croneberger, who on reporter Darren Rovell's feed tweeted in reaction to a favorable sentiment, "Disgusting it took me this much scrolling to find a good comment. Good on you."
But there are far too many negative comments, mostly from men, the majority from what I can see echo around the sentiment of this tweet: "My god...my eaaaars!'.
To quote the SportsCenter staple, "C'mon man!"
The underlying problem
NPR pointed out that critics of female broadcasters often say they're simply reacting to the voice, not the person. Kremer has weighed in on this topic in the past, saying:
"I have no doubt that 'hating the sound of her voice' is code for 'I hate that there was a woman announcing football.' "
Let's assume for a minute that this point of view, that it's OK to hate the sound of a woman's voice and use that as probable cause, that it isn't incredibly sexist, as some in the twitterverse have tried to argue (one tweet in response to ESPN's Adam Schefter's said "Stop trying to make this about being sexist").
Actually, scratch that. Let's not even assume that for a minute as a hypothetical because it is sexist.
And it's wildly judgmental. And offensive. And wrong.
There's enough judging based on looks, now we have to add in the sound of one's voice?
Do this instead
Please join in the sizable chorus of people shouting out support for this amazing, long overdue accomplishment. Let's drown out the trolls beneath the bridge they're living under. Let Kremer and Storm's victory be an inspiring example of equality playing out in the workplace and look for your own ways as a leader to make Amazon Prime-like moves.
The time has never been more prime to do so.