There are few things that bring us together as a country like football.
Small towns everywhere gather together under Friday night lights to bask in the glory of high school games. College towns huddle together through scorching heat and blistering cold for the love of the game. Even big cities jump on board to cheer on their own professional teams.
Quite simply, football is inescapable. Hell, other countries call it American football. It’s ours. We made it and we love it. We have parties based around it, and companies across the nation bid for their advertisements to be featured alongside the game.
So to imply that half of the population can’t follow football is insulting and downright sexist.
Yet, here we are. Bring in University of Alabama running back Kenyan Drake, who tweeted Jan. 20 from his personal account, @KDx17, “Most girls like basketball more than football (because) they can follow it alot (sic) easier.”
Sure, we can blow it off as another stupid thing an athlete sent out to the cyber world and another thing for which an athlete received a major repercussion (re: backup OSU quarterback Cardale Jones’ infamous tweet about how he didn’t come here to “play school” but rather to play football). But to me, it’s more than that.
The idea that women can’t “follow” football easily is a blatant exclusion of women from part of the American identity and it’s downright insulting. Football has always been a boy’s club, sure, but there would be a great deal fewer fans without women filling the stands.
But let’s play along with his stereotypes.
All those women who cook your meals before games and after practices (because that’s where women belong, right? In the kitchen?) don’t know what’s going on in the game. They’re just there to serve you.
Same with that woman who knows how to get grass, blood, mud and the smell of sweat out of your uniform. Football is too complicated for her to realize how all those stains got there, but thank God she can wash it for you.
And don’t forget the cheerleaders who follow you to every game, throwing themselves in the air to celebrate your achievements? Surely they have a man nearby telling them when to cheer because they’re too stupid to know what’s happening by themselves.
Most importantly, what about all the mothers out there? All the mothers who drive their sons to practices, adorn themselves with buttons with their son looking dashing in his uniform so they can properly cheer him on, pray for his safety in every single play and never miss a game — all those mothers are so blissfully ignorant of what their son is doing.
Of course, football has always been a male-dominated sport. It takes almost no common sense to figure that out. But to say girls can’t follow it is sexist, insulting and dated.
Sexism starts in the most basic jokes. Saying someone can’t follow something or that they follow a certain stereotype, even in a joking matter, makes sexist comments down the line seem less insulting and detracts from the reality of exclusion.
The worst part to me is that Drake later retweeted Iowa State redshirt-sophomore offensive lineman Duaron Williams (@UntamedBigDawg), who replied back “Or cuz they basic lol,” as a response to his first tweet. He isn’t sorry for what he did and he doesn’t realize his actions are insulting.
But football has and always will be a part of my life that I definitely can follow and no, I’m not “basic.”