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Monday 20 August 2018

Colette Fitzpatrick: Fair dues to Katie Taylor for speaking out on sexism in Irish sport. Now let's hear from all the other women

AFTER observing the outpouring of horror that followed the now infamous Sky Sports sexism rant, I still can't help wondering, why all the surprise?

Yes, the comments of Andy Gray and Richard Keys were unacceptable. And yes, lineswoman Sian Massey, hired for her abilities rather than for her looks, deserves respect instead of being treated like a piece of meat.

But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that the Sky Sports buffoons are a rarity.

The sad reality of female experiences in sport has been highlighted time and time again this week by the women who have to put up with it every day. We've heard from female referee Marie Ward, whose status as a qualified FAI official wasn't enough to stave off the nasty jibes from small-minded, insecure men.

Flashing

We've listened to the comments of boxer Katie Taylor, who, despite rising to the very pinnacle of her sport, still encounters male chauvinism.

These two, and countless women, quietly endure this sort of stag night boorishness all their working lives.

And while it takes a foolish remark and a flashing microphone light to bring this tawdry behaviour into the open, sexism in sport doesn't have an off button.

Katie, a woman who has flourished in a male-dominated environment, has explained she simply prefers to "get on with things".

But if there's one lesson to be learned from this week's fiasco, it's that women shouldn't have to "get on with things".

We've always known that sexism in sport exists, but now it's time to ensure that offensive comments aren't brushed under the carpet.

If more women spoke out about their experiences, perhaps those crass, arrogant fools who make life so miserable for successful women would be cowed into keeping quiet.

Let's not forget that for many women, including Sian Massey, sport is their workplace.

If derogatory comments were made in an office, it would immediately result in an internal inquiry.

Secret

But because women dare to trespass in the male-dominated sporting arena, they are expected to bow their heads, turn a blind eye to sexism and simply act grateful that they've been granted entry to this hallowed club. Sporting women of Ireland, I beseech you not to smile away your anger any longer. Speak out, stand up to these sexist bullies and shame them into changing their tune.

Oh and here's a newsflash for Andy Gray and Richard Keys; stop being so Third Secret of Fatima about the bloody offside rule. We get it.

God help the IMF if Joan is ever let get at them

JOAN Burton has been getting a drubbing from the Twitterati because she supposedly 'harangued' Vincent Browne and the shrinking violets on his panel the other night.

Big deal. If you ask me, all she did was prove she's probably the best person to lead negotiations with the IMF. After half an hour, they'd give us whatever we want.

The definition of 'harangue' is 'to rant', 'to rave' 'to yell at' 'to blow hot air', 'to attack' 'to hector' or 'to accost'.

Vincent does it all the time.

Joan knows this and told him not to. But he told her that she was actually doing it herself.

Log onto hairybaby.ie for the T-shirt with the slogan 'Vincent says don't harangue Joan'.

All this haranguing was worthy of The Jerry Springer Show as Joan gave a performance already etched in political folklore, even funnier than the Apres Match skits.

But you really have to love 'darling' Joan Burton.

That's Vincent's adjective, by the way -- and lest we accuse him of being patronising or sexist, she had already called him 'dear.' (Joan, you need to expand your vocabulary, 'dear' is the last word most of us would use to describe this late-night Rottweiler).

Exasperated

This was one of the rare occasions Vincent was talked over on his own show.

'You used to be called Joe', she quipped to Joe Higgins.

'Joan. Let him finish, Joan. Let him finish, Joan. Let him finish what he's saying. Joan. Oh God, would you please stop?', begged an exasperated Vincent.

'Joan does want to finish what she has to say', she replied.

Simon Coveney, by the way, was on the panel too. Like a middle child, he was begging to be taken notice of.

Joan, you're just what the country needs. Never become a Carmelite and take a vow of silence, like you accused Joe of. We'd miss listening to you.

More please, Joan ... '

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