Check out ESPN’s website when you have a moment. I want to show you something.
First, click the link to the NBA homepage. The top of your screen now has a long row of tabs that lead to different facets of NBA coverage: scores, schedule, standings and stats, to name a few.
Now find the men’s college basketball homepage. “NCAAM” has its own link separate from the “NBA” tab but is structured the same as its professional counterpart.
Here’s where it gets interesting. When you browse the list of sports homepages from the ESPN.com homepage, you’ll see that the WNBA and women’s college basketball, like the men, have their own, separate links.
But don’t be fooled. If you click on WNBA, you get the same list of sub-links: scores, schedule, standings and stats. And, as it turns out, a link to the women’s college basketball homepage, represented as “NCAAW” and “More,” with the “More” consisting of: scores, schedules, standings and stats, to name a few.
In the top left corner, you realize what you’re looking at is the overarching Women’s Basketball homepage – because female athletes aren’t as important as male athletes, right?
In sum, ESPN.com divides it’s basketball coverage like this: NBA, NCAAM, and Women’s Basketball.
Warning guys, I’m pulling the S-word out.
Why are men’s college basketball and the NBA on their own tabs, but women’s college basketball and the WNBA are lumped together? This simple action de-legitimizes the WNBA, a league of professionals who are already fighting for the respect they deserve.
Sure, the NBA is more established, more popular and more profitable. But ESPN is owned by Disney, a 50-billion-dollar goliath. You’d think its online department would have the resources to make this website issue go away.
There are WNBA fans with the same fervor and love for their teams and favorite players as NBA fans, and they would love to see more in-depth coverage from the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports.”
While commercials of NBA stars introducing some of the world’s best basketball players (yes, professional women’s basketball players are very, very good at the sport) and talking about how good they are is a start. Still, there is so much work to do.
I apologize if I sound like I’m drilling the same point over and over. It’s because I continue to fume over a hypocritical society that constantly breaks its promise of equality across the board.
Or in this case, equality across the backboard.
Andrew Huang is a sports writer. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJHuang and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.