Female Sports Columnist Trashed by Buffalo Bills Fans
By @jschonb on September 30, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
Last week, the Buffalo Bills' had a thrilling victory over the Oakland Raiders giving them a 2-0 start to the season. The New England Patriots were coming to town and fans were getting cocky. They called the local paper demanding more media coverage of their beloved team claiming the Bills were more of a New York team than the Giants or Jets.
Albany Times Union columnist Jennifer Gish questioned whether the Bills faithful had a right to demand respect given the fact that the NFL team hasn't had a successful season in recent memory. She alluded to the fact that fans may be delusional and should face reality. And she did it on the front page of the sports section no less.
Gish referred to the column, which was more a poke at Bills fans than a critical commentary, as the kind of ribbing that happens in sports bars every Sunday. Regardless of the intent, after the Bills beat the Patriots and moved on to a 3-0 record, fans let loose with a slew of profanity-laced messages trashing Gish by referring to her looks, her high-school popularity and the fact that women don't know anything about football.
On Thursday, Gish reprinted some of the hateful responses in a follow-up column. Fans called her all sorts of offensive names, many of which would not normally be printed. But sharing these emails gives everyone a look at just how nasty people can be. Here's a sampling:
So how does it feel to be both a woman and so wrong about football? I guess those two go hand in hand.
Maybe you should stay in the kitchen next time.
Why do you care if Bills fans care about their team? Is it really ruining your day because you are some worthless female who does not know anything about sports.
F*** yourself ya stupid C***, Go Bills!
and you may want to consider plastic surgery or something, you are one god awful ugly looking female.YOU SUCK DONKEY D***! That's why females shouldn't be allowed to write articles about sports.
Sports fans are known for being passionate and sometimes hotheaded. If someone writes or says something with which they disagree, they tend to go for the personal attack. Over the Internet, these same fans get to make bigoted attacks anonymously and without repercussion. (Gish lists her email address at the end of her columns).
Auburn Pub blogger Robert Harding reminded readers in situations like this, it's best to critique the message, not the person:
Gish deserved better than that. Her column could have started an interesting conversation -- and one I think that is worth having -- about how much newspapers in areas outside of Buffalo like Albany and Syracuse should cover the Bills. Instead, the conversation is dominated by the select few who decided that instead of talking about the topics in Gish's column, they would shoot the messenger instead.
It's unfortunate that Gish’s gender became the target of Bills fans vitriol. But if Gish were a man, that same group of fans may have attacked his race, his looks, his education, etc. Bad fans are bad fans regardless.
Gish referred to the reaction as a wider problem in sports and said she hoped young girls who are interested in sports won't have to deal with misogony. "Maybe someday, when they grow up wanting to be sports columnists -- when the inevitable blitz comes -- they won't have to check their blind side" .