Monday, April 27, 2009

When Athletes Speak, Fans Will Listen…and Talk Back

WNBA player, Chantelle Anderson, has joined the blogosphere and her blogs often take on some really interesting topics beyond the mundane daily record of personal experiences characteristic of many athlete blogs or Tweets. Rather than shying away from hot topics, Chantelle takes them on with gusto. In her 12 blog entries so far, she has addressed women athletes posing in sexy photo shoots, lesbian athletes, the image of WNBA players as “ugly and manly,” and the sexist double standard between male and female professional athletes who get pregnancy or get someone else pregnant.

I don’t always agree with Chantelle’s perspective on these issues, but she puts it out there and is getting a lot of response from readers, many of whom are male sports fans. She has visibility as a professional athlete and a platform, Yard Barker, which is visited by lots of sports fans, most of whom are men. She is really good at “facilitating” a generally civil exchange of opinions among the folks who comment on her blog. She engages them in a “discussion” by responding to most comments and her responses are respectful which invites a level of exchange and possibility for hearing different opinions and perspectives that is not typical of many men’s sports-oriented sports blog, especially when they start talking about women’s sports.

Chantelle, whether she intends to or not, is expanding the conversations about sexism and homophobia in sport to include some folks who probably are not visiting my blog or some of the other excellent blogs that also address these topics, like After Atalanta or the Title IX Blog or this new one, One Sport Voice. And that is a good thing. Welcome to the blogosphere, Chantelle. I’m looking forward to seeing what you take on next.

Note: Megan Hueter of Because I Played Sports.. has a podcast interview with Chantelle posted on her blog if you want to know more about Chantelle and what she thinks about some of the topics above.

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