I’m going to be brutally honest.
I don’t have a feminist bone in my body.
Yes, I’m a woman. No I don’t feel oppressed.
Yes I work in a “man’s” profession. And, I’ll toot my own horn here - yes, I can do it just as well as a man.
I love the double take people give me when I say I’m a sports editor. And no, I’m not offended when people seem surprised.
I love my job. And no stigma about my gender and this business is going to change that.
But when I heard Cam Newton’s comments from earlier this week I had to take a step back. Naturally I was annoyed by his comments - especially considering it was probably not the first time a female reporter asked him a question - so why would he choose to find it funny now?
Although I don’t consider myself a feminist, I was pleased with the response people had toward Newton’s comments, and how many people - not just women - were angry about it.
But unfortunately, those comments are probably never going to go away.
I was always told as a female in this business you have to develop a thick skin. But the reality is anyone working in journalism needs to get used to criticism - mostly from people who believe they can do your job better than you.
But I’m getting off topic.
Which brings me to the reason you’re all probably here. So have a seat and grab some popcorn - because I’m going to tell you about the time I was harassed by a clown for being a female sports reporter.
In the summer of 2013 I was the sports and multimedia intern at a large paper outside Philly and was covering a minor league baseball team in town.
Through my internship I had covered NFL training camps, major league baseball games, the NBA draft and countless other events in the area - but covering minor league baseball was by far my favorite.
That was, until I met the infamous clown that worked during every home game. His name escapes me, but I’m sure it was something creepy like Giggles or Pennywise.
I was in the press box before a mid-afternoon game transcribing an interview when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I stopped the recording and pulled the headphones out of my ears only to look over my shoulder and see something out of a horror movie - a clown with a creepy fake grin painted on a white face beaded with sweat from a warm July afternoon.
He asked me what I was doing up here.
Squints: “I’m transcribing an interview,” I responded half turning back to my work.
Giggles: “No, I mean, here, in the press box. This is only for media.”
Now officially annoyed because I was on deadline and the game was about to start - I fake laughed and gestured to my press pass sitting to my left.
Squints: “I’m an intern for the newspaper.”
Giggles - now with a real grin accompanying his painted red one, takes a step forward and leans on the chair beside me.
Giggles: “OH… then let me give you a little professional advice.”
Squints - Oh, please don’t.
Giggles - now leaning over my shoulder and pointing to the field.
Giggles: “In a few minutes a bunch of guys in white pants are going to scatter onto the field. There’s going to be one guy on that lump of dirt there - we call that a pitcher’s mound - and he’s going to throw a little white ball at another guy standing with a stick right there (gesturing toward home plate). Now, we don’t want that guy to hit the ball with his stick. If they do that too many times, we lose.”
Squints: …... *blinks* ……
Squints: “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” And I put my headphones back in and continued my work, ignoring the next few words that came out of Giggles’ mouth.
Later that night one of the team broadcasters came out of the booth and said he had overheard my conversation with Giggles and complimented my poise.
Me, on the other hand, was full of regret for not spouting out a few quick-witted comebacks at the rude rodeo clown.
But now four years later, I’m happy Giggles chose to single me out for being a young female sports reporter.
Because really, if you can take crap from a clown, you can handle anything.
So bring it on, Cam Newton.