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.”
After Serena Williams returned to the court of the French Open following her maternity leave for daughter Alexis Olympia, the world-renowned athlete entered the tournament at a ranking of No. 453 — where she was previously ranked at No. 1; but now, Glamour reports that the backlash from the move has caused the U.S. Open to revisit and revise their rules.
According to Glamour, the French Open organization has “now spoken out to announce a change in post-maternity protocol, one that will no longer penalize any female player returning to the sport after pregnancy.” But that’s not all: the U.S. Open is also making similar changes, says Glamour, “creating a special protection on seedings for women who return to the sport post-pregnancy.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Glamour says U.S. Tennis Association (which oversees the U.S. Open) president and chairwoman Katrina Adams not only explained the decision as the “right thing to do,” but also as a move toward achieving social parity.
“We are all about social justice and equality, and this is definitely an instance of equality,” she said. “We think it’s a good message for our current female players and future players: It’s OK to go out and be a woman and become a mother and then come back to your job, and I think that’s a bigger message.”
Also the bigger message: making sure Williams gets her due as one of the best athletes of all time.
“Serena Williams is arguably the greatest player to ever play, with 23 Grand Slam titles,” Adams continued, according to Glamour. “She deserves the respect to be put in that position.”
All it takes is one person to begin to blaze a trail for others to follow. And in Division I college basketball, their “first” just arrived.
According to CBS Sports, the University of Maine has recently hired former WNBA guard Edniesha Curry as a full-time assistant coach for their men’s basketball team, becoming the only full-time female assistant coach in Division I men’s basketball.
Prior to earning the assistant coach position, CBS Sports says Curry was working at UMaine as an assistant basketball player development coach for the women’s team between 2015 and 2017, also playing in the WNBA and overseas between 2002 and 2009. In between her new role at UMaine and her last job there, CBS Sports reports that she was “working with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program and as a women’s athletic program manager at Atlanta Classical Academy.”
As for her latest gig, first-year Maine coach Richard Barron said selecting Curry for the role was an “easy choice.”
“She is extremely talented at developing players – especially within the context of defensive and offensive systems,” he said in a release, according to CBS Sports. “Eddie teaches skills that can be utilized with frequency in a game. Eddie is also great at scouting opponents as well as ‘self-scouts’ – breaking down video to find areas of improvement…Our players will be very fortunate to have someone as gifted and enthusiastic as Eddie coaching them.”
She’s a World Cup winner and an Olympic champion, and now, former U.S. Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to add another item to her resume: president.
According to ABC News, Solo took to Facebook to announce her candidacy for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, following a recent announcement by current president Sunil Gulati of his decision to not pursue a fourth term. While the former goalie was suspended from the U.S. Women’s National team following comments about their World Cup semifinal opponents, ABC reports that Solo says she has exactly what it takes to lead the federation:
“I know exactly what U.S. Soccer needs to do, I know exactly how to do it, and I possess the fortitude to get it done,” she wrote. “I have always been willing to sacrifice for what I believe in and I believe there is no greater sacrifice then fighting for equal opportunity, integrity and honesty, especially in an organization like the USSF that could give so much more to our communities across the nation.”
So, what’s her campaign platform? ABC says Solo not only wants to foster a culture of winning and transparency within the federation, she also wants to “push for equal pay for the women’s national team and all women within U.S. Soccer” and “address the ‘pay-to-play’ model and make soccer accessible to all.”
Solo isn’t the only female running for the position, however, with ABC reporting that Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter also threw her hat in the ring for the February election.
Having an ally in the fight for gender equality is always a plus. And thanks to tennis star Andy Murray, female athletes in tennis and beyond are getting yet another advocate for securing level playing field — or court.
According to HuffPost, Murray penned an essay for BBC Magazine on “the importance of gender equality in tennis and in all sports,” a topic he learned much about after hiring Amelie Mauresmo, a former professional tennis player who he hired as a coach between 2014 and 2016. It was in this experience, HuffPost says, where Murray witnessed firsthand the sexism that plagued her every day, and it was here where he learned he could no longer keep silent on this issue.
Commenting on the tenacity of male and female tennis players, Murray offered that there is no difference between athletes of different genders.
“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player,” he wrote. “And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman…Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.”
Murray concluded his essay by asserting his hope for the future, says HuffPost, offering that a “level playing field” may be coming soon. We hope he’s correct!
To read his essay in full, click here.
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.