Raisman, survivors accept courage award at ESPYs

It took courage for all of disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar‘s victims to speak out on his heinous acts of sexual abuse. And it was that same courage that was recognized at this year’s ESPY Awards.

According to USA Today, Olympian Aly Raisman and over 140 survivors hit the stage of the 2018 ESPYs to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award not only for their efforts in shedding light on Nassar’s years of abuse, but also for representing the issue of sexual abuse at large.

Sarah Klein — who USA Today says described herself as Nassar’s first victim nearly 30 years ago — explained to the crowd just how difficult it was to stand up and speak out.

“Speaking up and speaking out is not easy,” Klein said. “Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again, in graphic detail, is not easy. We’re sacrificing privacy. We’re being judged and scrutinized, and it’s grueling, and it’s painful — but it is time.”

In their group appearance, USA Today says the survivors not only thanked the “Michigan police and prosecutors for helping bring Nassar to justice,” but also “thanked judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who allowed hundreds of women to testify at Nassar’s sentencing.”

It was Raisman, however, who concluded the group’s remarks, offering a message to all survivors of abuse.

“To all the survivors out there: Don’t let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman said, according to USA Today. “Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”

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Mowins to make EPSN history

There’s a first for everything and this fall, ESPN will have a first of their own.

According to HuffPost, Beth Mowins will “become the first woman in 30 years to call play-by-play for an NFL regular season game” when she gets behind the mic of the Sept. 11 Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos.

After joining the network in 1994, HuffPost says Mowins has been broadcasting college football games since 2005 and has recently been the go-to person for the Raiders’ preseason broadcasts.

The last woman to take the mic for a regular season NFL game was Gayle Sirens, who called a Seahawks-Chiefs game for NBC back in 1987, according to HuffPost.

Vittorio De Bartolo, executive producer of broadcasting for the Raiders, told Sports Illustrated (who originally reported the story) that he is ready to see what Mowins will do with her history-making moment.

“I am more than confident Beth can call an NFL game for a national audience.”

And so are we.

A gymnastics ‘shero’

A trip to Rio and being dubbed a ‘shero’ all in a matter of days — such is the life of gymnast Gabby Douglas.

According to ESPNW, the reigning all-around champion not only secured a place on the U.S. Olympic team on Sunday, July 10, she also announced her new Barbie doll the following day. The Huffington Post says Douglas took to Twitter on Monday morning to announce the news this way: “Excited to debut my @Barbie Shero doll! Let’s continue to break barriers & dream big, girls!”

The doll is part of Barbie’s recently unveiled ‘Shero’ line, which includes other inspirational women like Ava DuVernay, Misty Copeland and Emmy Rossum, says the Huffington Post.

To say that Douglas is excited to be included in the company’s ‘shero’ doll line is an understatement — in fact, the Huffington Post says Douglas told Mattel that the whole thing leaves her “speechless.”

“I never would’ve thought in a million years that I would be in this spot,” she said in a video promoting the doll on Barbie’s Twitter. “Everyone sees me as a role model and it’s just fantastic.”

Douglas also offered some advice on learning to love yourself in the video, says the Huffington Post.

“Just be you and love yourself and embrace yourself and just really go after what you want,” she said.

Spoken like a true shero. To see pictures of Douglas and her new shero doll, click here. 

Off-Color Commentary

It has been quite the year for women in sports — in July, Becky Hammon rose to the position of assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs while Jen Welter was hired by the Arizona Cardinals to also tackle the role of assistant coach. And on Tuesday, Oct. 6, history was made yet again as two-time Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza took to the broadcast booth to call a nationally televised Major League Baseball playoff game on ESPN.

The Huffington Post reports that Mendoza provided color commentary for the New York Yankees/Houston Astros game with John Kruk and Dan Shulman, after the 34-year-old former softball player became a regular analyst for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” in September.

While many viewers took to social media to post their praise and support for Mendoza with some saying that Mendoza is “giving hope to every girl who loves baseball,” others used their profiles to spew negative comments about Mendoza and her part in the broadcast.

One viewer tweeted, “why do i turn on baseball and hear a woman’s voice in the broadcast booth?!? we watch sports to get away from women,” while others called out male viewers who posted such negative comments. One tweet in defense of Mendoza came from viewer Jon Weisman, who expressed his disbelief over the lack of respect viewers showed Mendoza in this way: “Having read the hate speech on something as simple as a qualified woman calling baseball, I have to ask, is human decency really that hard?”

While The Huffington Post explains that Mendoza had faced similar criticism in her first history-making appearing on ESPN earlier this year in which she called an Arizona Diamondbacks/St. Louis Cardinals matchup, Mendoza has certainly not succumbed to the negativity being thrust her way.

“In an August interview with ThinkProgress, she said she’s learned to shrug off “the blatant sexism” that she faces regularly in the world of sports. ‘My mom got mad because some guy said, ‘you belong in the kitchen’ and that made me laugh,’ she said,” reports The Huffington Post.

Mendoza is not the first woman to face such backlash; in fact, Mendoza was approached by New York Yankees radio personality Suzyn Waldman, who started as a sportscaster in the 1980s and endured similar treatment. The Huffington Post says that Mendoza told Buzzfeed of a recent encounter with Waldman, in which the Yankees’ color commentator gave Mendoza her phone number, telling her to call any time she needed assistance.

Despite the criticism she received, Mendoza explained that her step into the broadcast booth has largely garnered positive, supportive feedback, telling Buzzfeed, “So many women together, and honestly, so many guys have reached out to me. It just gives me the continued confidence that we all love this game and we’re all doing this together.”

And we hope you continue to call games from the booth, no matter what anyone says. Thank you, Jessica Mendoza, for showing us that women belong in any industry they’re passionate about, and not just a kitchen.