bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: ESPN’s Britt McHenry is a bully

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Bullying is everywhere. We mostly think of kids when we picture bullies, as we can all remember a few of those “tough” guys or girls from when we were young. Bullies comes in many shapes, sizes, and ages, though, and sometimes the offenders aren’t whom we expect. This week, a video surfaced of Britt McHenry, a reporter for ESPN, verbally abusing and belittling a woman who works for a towing company in Virginia.

McHenry is one of the new type of sports reporters that we see more and more: pretty girls. It would be easy enough to write her off as having achieved her position due to her appearance, but that would be unfair and seemingly inaccurate. She graduated college with honors as a student-athlete (she played soccer) and then attended Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, which is one of the most prestigious programs in the country. There is no reason to question her credentials, although people surely will.

Well-educated or not, she has apparently not learned the right way to treat people, just as she seems to have been oblivious to the fact that if you’re famous, you’re always on camera. Her car was towed last week after she parked it illegally overnight. I don’t know if her outburst was due to frustration from the car being towed or if she was mistreated by the towing company, but she let loose on the company’s clerk, belittling her for her lack of education, the condition of her teeth, and her weight. Classy. She behaved as the classic mean-girl bully, acting as if the world owes her something because she is pretty and on television.

It seems pretty certain that we do not have the full story here. The video was clearly edited in such a way as to make Ms. McHenry look as bad as possible. The towing company has a terrible reputation, and it seems very possible that they instigated the event with some kind of mistreatment. Still, a television reported needs to be bigger than that. To go so far down the road of ugliness and bullying is just inexcusable, especially for someone in the public eye. Insulting the clerk the way she did made McHenry seem petulant and small. Calling the woman fat sends the whole thing right back to the halls of high school, where the pretty girls and the athletes reign supreme over the less physically-fortunate. It’s not a good look for McHenry or for ESPN. The network suspended her for a week, and she put out the expected apology (to the public, not to the woman she berated). Should she have been fired? I would need more information about the entire incident to answer that question. For now, the public humiliation should suffice.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of killing Odin Lloyd. The verdict came down on Wednesday, and it carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

3) Former Florida State quarterback and presumptive top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft Jameis Winston has been sued by the woman who accused him of rape back in 2012. No charges were filed in the incident, although that appeared to have been more due to inept or crooked investigations than actual facts.

4) The winner of last week’s St. Louis Marathon was disqualified after it was found that she didn’t actually run the whole race, having entered the course close to the finish. Kendall Schler is apparently not a newcomer to the whole cheating thing, as event officials found that she had done the same thing last year, having finished third, but wasn’t caught until now.

5) Ryan Gillyard, a fifteen-year-old football player at St. Joseph’s Prep in suburban Philadelphia, died on Saturday during a conditioning drill with his team.

6) Jarret Stoll, a center for the Los Angeles Kings, was arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and ecstasy.

7) Florida Gators defensive back J.C. Jackson is in some trouble. He was arrested for armed robbery in an incident that occurred at an acquaintance’s apartment in Gainesville.

8) Come on, Chip Kelly. Really?

Good sports:

1) The man who was nearly killed back in 2011 when he was beaten outside of Dodgers Stadium after a game between L.A. and the San Francisco Giants is in the midst of a remarkable recovery. Bryan Stow threw out the first pitch at the opening game for the San Jose Giants, a minor-league affiliate of the big league Giants, on Thursday night.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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