Over the past number of years, women have made great strides in the world of sports media—gaining inclusion, greater access and increased respect. It is important to acknowledge the progress, but it is also sometimes necessary to realize that discrimination still exists … and not always in the ways one might expect.
On July 14, Sports Illustrated reported that Erin Andrews will replace Pam Oliver as Fox’s top NFL sideline reporter for the 2014-15 season. Oliver will now work as the No. 2 reporter—she will say goodbye to teammates Joe Buck and Troy Aikman and instead join Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch. And after that, she will be removed from the sidelines altogether and will work for Fox in a different capacity.
Oliver told SI that she will miss all of the little things, including inside jokes, Buck’s impersonations and Aikman’s “bad impersonations.” “I went through a range of emotions, but […] disappointment has passed me and I have reached a point of trying to move forward with some sadness.”
This season will be Oliver’s 20th—and final—year on the job, and she had every intention of being able to go out on top. Clearly, the network had other plans.
“To go from the lead crew to no crew was a little shocking,” Oliver admitted. “I said I wanted to do a 20th year. I expressed to them that I was not done and had something to offer. Again, I think it was predetermined [...]. Two years ago it was determined that no matter what I did or did not do, a change would be made for this year.”
Some may expect to see discrimination in males being favored over females for sports media roles; however, women feel the pressure in other ways than just from men. Males in the industry, such as Al Michaels and Terry Bradshaw, are considered more experienced and more credible as they age. Women are not so lucky.