Bills fans: sexist pigs?
blog by Ben Kirst • September 30, 2011 @ 7:00am
Jennifer Gish is a sports columnist for The Albany Times-Union. On Thursday, Sept. 22, she published a column entitled “Bills fans need help keeping it real.” The basic gist of the piece: after a 2-0 start, Buffalo fans were suffering from delusions of grandeur, their team was a joke and the underlying insinuation was that the Bills were about to get their latest full-handed slap from their Patriot overlords. Also included were common Buffalo knocks like Wide Right, the annual Toronto game, the lost Super Bowls, etc. According to members of the Albany Bills Backers—some of whom were quoted directly in the column—Gish approached them under the false pretense of describing their passion and then, instead, made fun of them and their favorite team.
Among her digs:
“And maybe Fitzpatrick will end up at the Hall of Fame one day. To watch Brady’s induction.”
“You’re trotting out that old ‘New York’s only true team’ line, and referring to last year’s score against the Patriots (a 38-30 loss) as a reason the Bills could win this weekend. Awwww.”
“They say: The Bills have a bunch of no-name players, and it will work to their advantage…you know why players become stars? Because they’re good, and their teams are successful.”
Gish got her comeuppance, of course, when Buffalo upset New England on Sunday.
The story did not end there, however. In a column published on Thursday, Gish shared some of the tasteless hate mail she received from Bills fans—sexist, crude, profane hate mail that attacked her looks, wished horrors on her children and requested that she perform an unnatural act on a donkey. If you want to read the insults, check them out—but they can basically be summed up with:
“I am a well educated, compassionate, thoughtful, and caring man. I still am after reading your article, but my response will not be erudite or clever; that I promise you.
“Simply put, f*** you you stupid, arrogant, thoughtless b****, and stick all of your snide Bills comments up your a** ...”
Harsh! And that was probably the most intelligent of the bunch. Gish ended her column by noting that “...girls are taking the field with a passion for sports and an unprecedented opportunity to play them. They’re growing up wearing NFL jerseys, watching games and asking their moms to explain the job of a linebacker…maybe someday, when they grow up wanting to be sports columnists—when the inevitable blitz comes—they won’t have to check their blind side.”
This is national news, with blogs and newspapers around the country from Seattle (“Bills fans tell woman columnist to stay in the kitchen, other niceties”) to Washington, D.C. (“Buffalo Bills column by Jennifer Gish inspires profane, sexist tirades from fans”) picking up the story.
I think we can all agree that it’s wrong to tell anyone you want to “lick those tears off your face.” But what do you think—did Gish get the expected response for poking the beehive? Or should Bills fans take a long, hard look in the mirror? Is this a sexist assault on a female sportswriter—or the expected reaction any writer gets when they slam a passionate group of people?