Friday, June 15, 2007

"Ugly Women in Athletics Day"

This is the kind of thing female athletes must endure at Fresno State, according to softball coach Margie Wright, who testified at the Lindy Vivas trial yesterday. The website for KSEE news summarized it this way:
Wright described an incident when some Fresno State staff hosted a small party for "Ugly Women in Athletics Day." A poster on the wall had stick figures with athlete's faces on them. Some of the softball players ripped the poster down, but then had to apologize and take the poster back.
As I understand it (from someone who was at the trial yesterday) the judge did not allow Wright to testify about specific homophobic remarks the male baseball coach and players
made about the softball team, presuming that such remarks would not have affected Vivas since she coached a different sport. The Fresno Bee seems to make much of the fact that Vivas herself "never directly overheard gay slurs." But just because discrimination is subtle does not mean it's not there. I think Wright's excluded testimony would have helped flesh out a more complete picture of homophobia and misogyny operating within the department, lending additional context to Vivas's claims of bias against her. Given all the evidence, I think an astute jury can figure out the difference between subtle discrimination and no discrimination at all.

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