Sports columnist inspires female journalists

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

When Christine Brennan decided to become a sports reporter she might as well have said she wanted to walk on the moon.

As a sports columnist for USA Today and commentator for ESPN and ABC Sports, Brennan has blazed a trail for female sports reporters despite growing up in a time when women were excluded from the world of athletics.

Last night, Brennan shared her professional experiences with an audience of students, faculty and community members in Olscamp.

When Brennan decided to become a sports reporter while growing up during the ’60s and ’70s, she told the audience there were few role models for female sports reporters.

‘As a girl growing up I never saw a women’s sports byline or a woman reporting sports on TV,’ she said.

After graduating from Northwestern University, Brennan said she had to ignore the comments of some players while covering football games for The Miami Herald.

‘Did some players have trouble with me? Yes,’ she said. ‘Did I hear hooting and hollering? Yes. But I wasn’t going to be paying any attention to that. As long as they weren’t my bosses, what did I care?’

By ignoring those comments, Brennan said she has been able to live out her dream. She has worked for a number of national media outlets, including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, ABC News, ESPN, NPR and Fox Sports Radio. She’s covered a wide range of sporting events, including the Olympics for nearly 20 years.

Brennan said she developed a love of sports growing up in Toledo as an avid fan of the Rockets. But she said that there were few opportunities to play on organized teams as a young girl and that teams she did play on were often underfunded.

‘We didn’t know what we didn’t have,’ she said. ‘I was just happy to be playing.’

During her speech, Brennan gave strong support for Title IX, which she said has helped even the playing field for men’s and women’s sports.

She said that although Title IX has become a part of people’s everyday lives, it still needs to be preserved and built upon.

‘We need to be vigilant and make sure it’s there for the next generation of young girls,’ she said.

Organizers of the event said that Brennan’s experiences as a journalist are helpful for students who aspire to become reporters themselves.

‘I think it’s very beneficial to hear from someone who is actually out in the field,’ said Keri Reinhart, senior and president of the Sport Management Alliance who spearheaded the event.

Students who attended Brennan’s speech said she serves as a role model for women who want to go into sports.

‘I was really moved by her, as a woman who wants to go into sports management,’ junior Bethany Sims said.