Women’s soccer fans have by now likely read up on the controversy that stemmed from Major League Soccer’s ExtraTime Podcast on Tuesday. Here is a quick rundown, which describes some comments made by panelist Simon Borg.
Borg stated on the official MLSsoccer.com podcast:
“It’s fine if you’re a female and you want to be a super-fan. Clearly go for it, that’s your choice. But there is something to be said for how appealing that might be to the other sex. Having a woman that’s such a fan, like painting your face, tuning in to every podcast. I don’t know how many males would be into that.
“It’s great that in Kansas City there are a lot of women in the stands, it’s great, but for the guy who wants maybe a serious relationship… If you are following just casually, but if you’re such a die-hard, I don’t know, it comes a point that it is a bit of a [I don't want to say] turn-off…”
Women United FC, a be female MLS fan community, quickly fired back, speaking for many women in taking offense to the statements. Last I checked – which was only a couple of weeks ago – approximately 40 percent of MLS fans are female.
SB Nation blog, The Goat Parade, has a very good round-up of the situation, in which we are reminded of that MLS Facebook mishap in March when a post was temporarily on the league’s official account showing a joke about strippers. Nice.
Times like these remind us that there is a long way to go in the coverage of women’s sports. I’ve been meaning to write about some encouraging investments being made by big brands in women’s soccer and while the connection is loose, it’s a good time to point these out:
Nike is running a contest called, “The Chance,” which will give girls a heck of an opportunity to play on an elite squad during a trip to Europe. Plus, people like Mia Hamm and Ali Krieger just randomly show up to team scrimmages. Credit to Puma and Adidas for taking initiatives in women’s soccer as well.
Under Armour Women has come on strong of late. The company’s new campaign, “What’s Beautiful,” sends a strong message hat resonates how we operate at this site. Soccer is soccer: Black, white, male, female – it really makes no difference, and it certainly isn’t about objectifying.
Here’s a video with that message from Under Armour Women (Granted, for a video with women saying advertisements make them look Photoshopped, they are women who you could argue…look Photoshopped. But still, the message is spot-on.):