Magic Broadcast Gets (Possibly) Sexist

These things are true: Violet Palmer is an objectively bad ref. And she's a woman. Given the undercurrent of sexism in sports, it's not surprising that you sometimes hear these two things linked. But rarely out in plain sight, much less over the airwaves during a live basketball game. That's beyond the pale, even for former jocks turned color commentators. Right? ↵
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↵Apparently, someone forget to tell this to Richie Adubato, one-time head coach and current color guy for the Magic. Take it away, FanNation: ↵
↵⇥Richie Adubato, a former NBA head coach who works as a color commentator for the Orlando Magic on WDBO, treaded that line Friday night during a game between the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers when he vehemently protested a call by referee Violet Palmer. He foolishly suggested she isn't qualified to be an NBA ref, saying Palmer should go back to the WNBA because that's where she belongs. In an attempt to justify his rant, Adubato said Palmer can call that a foul in the WNBA but not the NBA. ↵
↵There are some mitigating factors: This isn't as bad as Cedric Maxwell's insisting that Palmer should go back to the kitch. And Adubato coached in the WNBA, so he can't be all that sexist, I guess. Still, in this day and age, it's as much about appearance as reality. Maybe Adubato really did mean all along that calls work differently in the WNBA; he's certainly in a position to know. Maybe anyone quick to judge Adubato needs to take a look in the mirror, since he actually understands the WNBA. ↵
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↵But that's not how he presented it initially, that's not the headline, and chances are, that won't be the soundbite online. These days, if you're part of sports and speaking in public, it's not enough to just not be sexist. You have to go out of your way to make sure there's no room for suspicion, since people will likely assume the worst (or, to some, the best). It's unfortunate, though I think it says a lot about how much sexism remains -- not how paranoid some people are about it.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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