Posted by: Ethan Johnson | April 20, 2010

Confessions of a Hater

This past October, I wrote, in part,

If we who support women’s athletics are to adopt a progressive stance, rather than crouch defensively and strike back at the regressive attitudes of the “haters”, we must articulate and strive to implement a vision for a future that has room for all athletics. All academics. All opportunities.

This is a good time to reinforce that despite the athletic slant of this project, it is a facet of a larger gem. Opportunities in athletics may come by way of increased access to and opportunities in academics, for example. Progress and success in one area does not mean the exclusion of others, or that it happened in a vacuum.

A story came to my attention via the Women’s Hoops Blog that underscored a fundamental truth: Things don’t always just happen, often times someone went out and happened to things.

The author is a confessed former “hater” of women’s collegiate basketball. He wrote, in part,

In 1993, I was an especially gigantic jerk.

At the time I was sports editor of The Review, the University of Delaware’s student newspaper.


In one particularly pathetic piece, I dared the coach to allow me to practice with her players. “We’ll see how good they are,” I wrote — a line straight out of Chauvinist Pig Loser: 101.

The coach, to her credit, never responded.


Joyce Perry merely rose above it all.

And as you will read anon in the linked article, indeed she did.

My thoughts are these: One, bravo to the former “hater” to swallow his pride, confess his transgressions, and proceed to deliver a moving eulogy to the coach he once mocked, and now has come to appreciate and admire. I can understand the urge to lash out at the prior behavior, but I think we are all better served (author included) to celebrate the life and career of the late Joyce Perry rather than boast who can beat the largest drum in support of women’s athletics – or perhaps more to the point, women, period.

Two, bravo to the coach for ignoring the catcalls of the “haters”. By all accounts she stuck to her mission and vision, and many people are the better for it.

Three, at the risk of making a scene at a funeral I do wish that stories like this didn’t require the death of a decent person and fleeting confession of the living to get press time. My hope in the aftermath of events and articles such as this one is that more people, gender aside, will take the time to observe, appreciate, and recognize the good works that many, many people are doing locally, nationally, and worldwide. This has nothing to do with sports.

I will close with the end of my prior article.

Can we foresee a future where it’s okay to be a female athlete? Where it is okay to be a fan of women’s athletics, regardless of gender? Where it’s okay to be a successful woman, in sports or in life?

If so, how do we get there from here?

Can we get there together?

Please, Mr. Pearlman, don’t let this be the last thing you write in support of successful, visionary women.



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