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.

Don Drumm Studios

Lehmans

Meaden & Moore


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

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Third-grade charter school students fail state testing
A partisan anti-charter group came out with analysis that ODE says is based on incorrect data. So why is this a story? It doesn't seem to rise to WKSU's typic...

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