Tonight, the pre-show for Monday Night Football will feature a panel discussion about domestic violence. It will include, as Ben Collins points out at Esquire, the perspectives of 11 middle-aged-and-up men, and not a single woman. He goes on to dismantle Bill Simmons’ suspension from the network for calling Roger Goodell a liar and the network’s general posturing and censorship of dissenters and women.
What’s the point of this panel? It’s going to be a meaningless bummer. Hear me out: Everyone — everyone – knows that the only reason ESPN is bothering with it is to make it appear as if they’re “covering” the recent rash of domestic violence incidents and “addressing” their female audience, but it’s an empty gesture if their female audience isn’t even represented by a woman. What would happen if they didn’t bother and just had their normal pre-game show? It’s not like they’d get sued, and no one would say that they’re any more irresponsible than they’ve been demonstrating themselves to be with their crappy “coverage” of the issue anyway. I mean, hell, at this point, the better damage control would seem to be to just not address the issue at all and just let the rest of the world criticize them for that instead of making repeated and tremendous missteps like having Stephen Smith air his victim-blaming opinions about Janay Rice, suspending Bill Simmons for making an attempt at actual sports journalism, and now hosting an all-male panel on an issue that mainly affects women. Keep reading »