Anchor joke sets women back

The plight of women sports broadcast journalists continues. According to reports, sports anchor Kelly Tilghman has issued an apology for the comment she made about Tiger Woods.

Wednesday, Tilghman received a two-week suspension after saying that players on the PGA Tour should “lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley” in order to stop him from performing so well at the sport.

It may have been meant as a harmless statement, but it definitely didn’t come off as one.

For years women have fought for their place in the world of broadcast journalism and now it seems that Tilghman has just set them back. Her comment has stirred up great debate among sport enthusiasts and even civil rights leaders.

The Rev. Al Sharpton has insisted that Tilghman be fired, while other news stations have debated the same thing.

While some people view the matter as being cruel and spiteful, others see it as simply a joke, including Woods’ agent, who believes that Tilghman did not have ill intent.

Whatever the reason was, it certainly didn’t stop Sharpton from going on CNN to voice his opinion.

“Lynching is not murder in general, it’s not assault in general,” Sharpton said on CNN’s Prime News. “It’s a specific racial term that this woman should be held accountable for. What she said is racist. Whether she’s a racist … is immaterial. She’s a broadcaster. The channel has to be accountable to the public.”

For years black people were subjected to lynch mobs and the Jim Crow laws. Of course, racism still exists today. One would think that with the infamous Don Imus incident and the Jena 6 issues, Tilghman would have at least thought twice before making her statement.

Women are already pigeonholed when it comes to reporting sports, and Tilghman’s comment only added to the stereotype.

In my opinion, she represented all female sportscasters with her comment. The field itself is highly competitive, and it is already hard enough for women to land jobs as anchors.

Commentators need to be mindful of what they say. It is a privilege to be seen and heard during broadcasts and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

In a world where white males are usually seen as news anchors, the plight of female journalists can seem daunting and often times, discouraging

Top jobs may continue to elude women in broadcast news but with determination, this can be overcome. There are far too many skilled women out there with the right dexterity to command their own show.

Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren shares my opinion. In her words: “There are 280 million people in this country. Surely they can find one smart woman to deliver the news.”

Quite frankly, I couldn’t agree more.