On Monday, ExtraTime Radio podcast host Simon Borg had this to say about female soccer fans:
“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 turn-off.”
As a female sports fan and writer, my initial reaction to Borg’s statement was of confusion. Why would anyone turn down a potential relationship with someone because they shared the same passion? Especially when sports is one of the deepest rooted and widespread passions in the nation.
Considering the negative generalization of an entire female fan base was made by Borg, who is also an MLS employee, you can bet it didn’t go over well with the higher ups insulting a good percentage of their fanbase. MLS released a statement on Wednesday following Simon Borg’s comments:
During the latest episode of the ExtraTime Radio podcast on MLSsoccer.com, one of the hosts — Simon Borg — made inappropriate remarks regarding female fans of Major League Soccer. These remarks were unacceptable and in no way reflect the values of MLS, its clubs, players, staff, or MLSsoccer.com. We apologize on behalf of our organization for those remarks. Respect for diversity is a core principle of MLS and we are proud of the diversity of our League and its fans.
Mr. Borg will be suspended from his position at MLSsoccer.com for seven days, effective immediately. All MLS employees undergo diversity and sensitivity training on an annual basis, and Mr. Borg and the entire MLS Digital group will receive additional sensitivity training promptly.
In a smart and swift move by MLS, they made the perfect call in suspending Borg. But one has to wonder if there was underlying experience that Borg went through that made him have this opinion. Has he been shown up on his sports knowledge by a woman? What would he have against female sports fans? Wherever the comments came from, it was incredibly misguided to make such a sweeping, insulting generalization about an entire group of people.
Most reasonable fans know there are all kinds of sports fans out there. The know it alls, the fake know-it-alls, the drunken idiots, the ones who never stand up and cheer. There are quirks about specific fans I hate, and quirks that I love, and women have the right to fall in any of those categories.
Some of the greatest and saddest moments in our lives come at the hands of sports. And that’s the beauty of the game, it affects us all, no matter the race or gender.