Earlier this week, a now-former radio host made derogatory comments about the on-air appearance of ESPN reporter Maria Taylor. In the aftermath, Taylor’s colleagues came to her defense and provided support, with a national conversation rekindling about the way women are treated in the sports world.
On Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker was asked about Taylor, especially through the lens of her own work as a television analyst with Turner.
— Khristina Williams (Founder, Girls Talk Sports TV) (@Khristina2334) September 17, 2020
“I reached out to Maria. I posted about it. It’s ridiculous, the scrutiny that women commentating sports go through,” Parker said. “I’ll just be honest with you. When you look at the camera, you immediately look not at what they’re saying but what they’re wearing and their appearance. Either we gotta change the way we look at women, or we gotta start scrutinizing guys, and I don’t think it’s the latter. I’m proud of people standing behind her, but at the same time, there is so much ignorance in the world. And I think nowadays you’re not able to hide from it, and it’s becoming clear and apparent. The people that choose to ignore it, and say it’s not there, are lying to themselves and they’re delaying what’s gonna happen.”
Parker wasn’t done there, relating everything back to her on-air experience and the fact that she should be judged on her words and analysis, rather than her appearance or the fact that she is a female commentator.
“I always say this; if you don’t like my commentating, talk about my commentating. Do not come at me and say ‘this woman.’ Don’t like me because of what I say or my viewpoints…. Don’t immediately use me being a woman as some sort of negative comment. I think we have a long way to go and there are some people that are going to be behind. And, you know, the world is constantly moving forward, so you better get on the train.”
Parker and the Sparks take on the Connecticut Sun in a second-round matchup in the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday evening. Just hours before that game, though, Parker added eloquence to the discussion and, given her experience both on the court and in the booth, it isn’t a surprise to see her providing relevant and thoughtful views on the subject.