stephanie ready-charlotte hornets

In the fall of 2015, Stephanie Ready became the first woman to work as a full-time game analyst for an NBA team. Two years later, she has been sent back to where she came from, the sideline, and not everyone is happy about it.

A loud group of Hornets fans has rebelled against Fox Sports Southeast’s decision to reassign Ready, tweeting angrily under the hashtag #DontSidelineStephReady.

An account called HornetsGIFs has led the way.

Ready, for her part, expressed thanks for the hashtag movement, suggesting fan continue tweeting at her bosses.

Ready, who starred at Coppin State in the late ’90s, has been working Hornets games since the franchise was rebooted as the Bobcats in 2004. She quickly became popular among Charlotte fans and was eventually promoted to work alongside Eric Collins and Dell Curry in the first ever three-person booth on a local NBA broadcast. That gig lasted two seasons.

A Fox Sports Southeast executive told the Charlotte Observer recently that the network reassigned Ready because it wanted a presence on the sideline.

Fox Sports Southeast senior vice president Jeff Genthner said moving Ready to courtside is an effort to overcome the television location being off the floor (at the top of the lower bowl on the bench side of Spectrum Center).

“It’s really tough for television” to not be courtside, Genthner said in an interview with the Observer. “There’s no one leaning over the bench to say, ‘How bad is that injury?’ ”

Though that explanation makes sense, it’s not hard to see why fans would be distraught to see 1.) an analyst they like moved to a less visible role and 2.) a woman who broke a significant barrier being demoted back to where she began. Even if Fox Sports Southeast felt it needed a sideline reporter, the network could have hired someone new to complement its game analysts. Instead, it reassigned Ready, which might be defensible but also opened it up to criticism from fans.

It seems unlikely that a hashtag campaign will get Ready her old job back, but fans letting the network how they feel certainly can’t hurt.

[Charlotte Observer]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Ted Mark

    The positions of courtside reporters, on-field reporters, sideline reporters, rinkside reporters, and dugout reporters contribute nothing to the experience of the watcher or listener. Male or female, the talents of these reporters are wasted completely.

  • kca13

    She was ok in the booth but didn’t seem like a natural fit there like Dell Curry is

  • BD

    And Eric Collins still has a job?
    If he is as bad on basketball as he was doing the Dodger road TV games several years ago, I feel sorry for Hornet fans.

  • newdog301

    It is great that women are getting more opportunities. It is long overdue.

    But we cannot have this reaction any time one of them is fired. The door should be open, the glass ceiling should be shattered, but we should not start incorporating a random quota saying, “We need X amount of female color commentators around the NBA.”

    They should be judged and given the same chance as men, and if that is the case they can be fired or reassigned just like men.

  • Shawn Diiorio

    There’s Charlotte Hornets fans? Could have fooled me.

  • BobLee Says

    Don’t know/care about The Hornets… I am curious what constitutes a “groundswell” reaction to any personnel change or pizza topping or pre-game music or whatever other trivial issues swirl about sports these days. Are six tweets in ALLCAPS reason to reconsider a change… howsabout 24 tweets… maybe one rabid bat who posted 37 ALLCAPS rants? ??? Please define an “OMG They Are Rioting on-line” ??

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