Meet Mickey Plyler, host of The Mickey Plyler Show (obviously) on 105.5 The ROAR in Clemson, S.C. During Plyler’s program on Tuesday, the topic of female sports announcers was broached and you can probably already tell that things went downhill in a hurry.

It’s unclear if Plyler was originally referring to play-by-play commentators as well as color commentators but when pushed on why he feels that way, the radio host said on Twitter that he specifically wanted people who have played in the events they are covering to do the color commentary.

When asked about whether or not he would tell the women in his family not to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, he said he’d push for women to be sideline reporters but that’s about it.

It’s a fairly common belief amongst some men that when it comes to sports, women should be seen (like, say, on the sidelines) but not heard (at least not as often as a color commentator would be). The charge that women don’t know what they’re talking about because they didn’t actually play the sport is also a pretty common defense of the attitude, despite the fact that a playing career has never been a requirement to sports commentating.

Of course, that’s all nonsense. As Sarah Spain once put it, “There is nothing in the DNA of a woman that prevents her from understanding the Cover 2 or knowing which guy on the hometown squad should be batting cleanup. Your neighbor Bill who has never watched a football or baseball game in his life is not, in fact, more qualified to host a sports radio show than a sports-crazed woman with years of experience in the industry.”

There’s something ironic as well about Plyler specifically using Phil Simms as a preferred example as Simms’ abilities as a football commenter are often described as “flat,” “one-note,” and “quarterback-centric.” A well-versed, football-savvy commentator, regardless of gender or on-field experience, could likely bring much more to a television broadcast than Simms. It’s less important that a commentator played professionally for fifteen years and more important that they have the ability to provide valuable insight into what audiences are watching. The former does not guarantee the latter.

Even if you’re going to require a history of playing a sport before stepping behind a microphone to talk about them, why would Jessica Mendoza be disqualified? The four-time All-American and two-time Olympic medalist softball player became ESPN’s first female broadcaster for a Major League Baseball broadcast last year and has has excelled in the role. But how can that be? She’s never actually faced down a 98 MPH fastball from a MLB pitcher, what right does she have to talk about the sport? Just ask all of the male baseball commentators who have never done that either.

We live in a time when a lot of men feel threatened by the encroaching growth of women in sports. Like so many other things in catching up in our culture, you really only have two options. Move with the progress or entrench yourself in ideas that will just look worse and worse as time goes on. Looks like Plyler is going with the latter.

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.

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