News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Genie of Fairview Door Company

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


Terry Pluto: Women sports writers had to swim in a sea of sharks
Pluto reflects on the time when women fought for equal locker room access and respect in the industry.
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
"Let Them Wear Towels" is a history and examination of females working in the man's world of the locker room. Terry Pluto talks about the atmosphere as a sports writer in the late-1970's.
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

This summer, ESPN is airing nine documentaries focusing on women in sports. The series follows last year’s 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal law that that opened the door to sports and collegiate athletic scholarships for women. This week, "Let Them Wear Towels" is about the quest for equal locker-room access for female journalists.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto was a young sportswriter in the late 1970’s at the height of this debate. 

 

Listen: Terry Pluto commentary audio

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:42)


When Pluto was breaking in during the 1970’s, he says it was it was a difficult climate for all sport writers. Players today are offered training on how to handle the media. But back then, he says players would lash out if something was written about them that they didn't like. 

“I remember I had wads of tape and dirty socks thrown at me when I walked in the locker room.  ... One time, on a flight with the players, they locked me in the bathroom for about an hour before they let me out.”

Keep the clipboard in your line of sight
Pluto says women were treated with even less respect as they were fighting to gain equal access to the locker-room. He remembers working with Jane Gross of the New York Times and seeing players throw French fries at her. Gross, and many other female journalists have worked hard to earn respect and maintain professionalism.

He remembers friend Alison Gordon who was a sports writer in Toronto. “She didn’t dress provocatively and she would have this huge clipboard, so when she took notes, she wasn’t looking at the guy’s lower body. She was pretty accepted.”

Earning their way
Two of Northeast Ohio’s female sports writers, May Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer and Marla Ridenour with the Beacon Journal, have spent decades covering the Browns. “Mary Kay is a real pioneer,” Pluto says.

“Her first coach she covered was Bill Belichick. The media [to him] was a distraction; at the very least he thought it was a cancerous tumor that should be cut out and stomped,” he says. “Cabot’s really earned her way, and I think she’s tremendous reporter.”

Pluto says those women had to have a lot of grit and determination to survive in the industry. “You really had to want to be a sports writer and want to be good to last in those early days. They are a lot tougher than most of us.”

Still, Pluto has some regrets when he reflects on that era. “I wished that we, being the males, would have stood up for the women a little more. I think part of it is that like, ‘Hey, we had to swim in our own sea of sharks, so good luck with you.’ But, we could have been better.”

Terry Pluto says that while women sports journalists have come a long way to earn respect, they often are treated differently in the public view. “All you have to do is look at [sports articles'] comments."

Terry Pluto on Indians first half and trade rumors
Other options:
MP3 Download
(5:22)
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University