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It’s hard out here for a lady football fan.
Even if you set the domestic violence issue aside – and before you do, think for a second about what a big “if” that is – there’s the abysmal gear selection (“The message is that for women, fandom is an excuse to dress up and entertain for an event more purely appreciated by men“), the impossibly high standards and low pay for NFL cheerleaders and the fact that your own damn alma mater will try to convince you to take remedial football-for-idiots classes just because you’re a woman.
The debate over whether the Chargers will stay in San Diego, of course, isn’t a gender issue. But it’s still a reminder of the ways in which pro sports in general – and the NFL in particular – can turn women away.
Look at the coverage of the news that the Chargers and Raiders were exploring a stadium deal together. Virtually every outlet that covered the move went with some version of a strange bedfellows/unholy union joke – they’re threatening to run away together! – but the U-T’s Kevin Acee took it to its gross extreme:
Once people called the piece out, the whore reference was quickly and silently removed – there’s still nothing acknowledging the piece was changed or why.
A few days later, Acee gave us another gem, because who can’t resist turning a sustained conversation with your readers into an Old Man With Boner joke?
And before you come at me with an insistence that feminists just can’t take a joke, please, I beg you, read this. Actually, read it anyway.
I’m having fun with this new thing that you’re reading. Soon, it’ll become available to Voice of San Diego members only, so if you’re not yet signed up, get on that!
What VOSD Learned This Week
• Two local victims of traumatic brain injuries, both suffered on the football field 15 years apart, came together in a hospital room.
• The NFL has rules that guide when teams can move to a new location. They’re not all that ironclad, though.
• Turns out telling a public employee to destroy emails, then firing her when she objects, is frowned upon.
• The man at the center of the campaign finance scandal had one likely motive when he met with San Diego politicians: to take down Sempra.
• There are three big steps residents can take if they want to play by the city’s hazy rules on Airbnb rentals.
Friday News Dump
• In the Sacramento Report, Andrew Keatts and I wrote about Toni Atkins’ plan for more affordable housing statewide and a flurry of bills from local lawmakers.
• And on the podcast, Scott Lewis and Caty Green talk Airbnb rules and the big takeaway from our investigation of José Susumo Azano Matsura.
Our Losing Streak
It’s been a brutal few weeks for the journalism world. A couple weeks ago, it was Bob Simon and David Carr; this week we lost Dori Maynard, “a tireless advocate for racial diversity among those who cover the news.”
Laurie Becklund, a former Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune reporter, died earlier this month. The Times this week published this beautiful, heartbreaking final piece of Becklund’s about searching for answers to her cancer: “Promise me you’ll never wear a pink ribbon in my name or drop a dollar into a bucket that goes to breast cancer ‘awareness’ for ‘early detection for a cure.’”
A bright spot, though: San Diego sports anchor Kyle Kraska, who was shot several times outside his home earlier this month, tweeted this on Friday: “It’s a beautiful day to be alive!”
What I’m Reading
The Heavyweights: This was a kickass week for investigative journalism.
• Topping the list is this jaw-dropping piece from my pal Spencer Ackerman, in which he reveals that Chicago police operate what’s essentially a black site on U.S. soil – a place where arrestees are kept off the books, shackled and sometimes abused for hours and held without access to a lawyer.
• Brian Joseph, who launched VOSD’s Sacramento Report, dropped this 18-month investigation into the world of privatized foster care.
• The incomparable Connie Schultz wrote an in-depth look at the gulf between the leaders of Cleveland, who say their notorious police department is operating just fine, and federal officials, who say it’s badly broken.
• Never thought I’d say this but: The sexts are really what set this investigation over the top.
The Lightweights: Because sometimes we laugh to keep from crying.
• If you’re sad about the end of “Parks and Recreation,” I have good news and bad news for you. The good news: The Washington Post found a real-life Ron Swanson in Indiana who enjoys meat and woodworking. The bad news: Scott Lewis doesn’t feel your pain.
• “Pimp My Ride” – and thus, possibly my entire adolescence – was a lie.
• Line of the week: “We’re all a bit worried about Glom Gazingo.”