FUREY

A tale of two sexists

By Anthony Furey, Postmedia Network

City News reporter Shauna Hunt confronts a Toronto FC fan, identified as Shawn Simoes, right, on May 10, 2015 at BMO Field in this screen capture of a City News video. The incident at BMO Field involved Simoes and other fans who yelled "f--- her right in the p----" during the broadcast. (City News TV/Postmedia Network)

City News reporter Shauna Hunt confronts a Toronto FC fan, identified as Shawn Simoes, right, on May 10, 2015 at BMO Field in this screen capture of a City News video. The incident at BMO Field involved Simoes and other fans who yelled "f--- her right in the p----" during the broadcast. (City News TV/Postmedia Network)

Two recent stories of sexism in sports are receiving very different treatment.

The first was on May 10 when a Toronto soccer fan hollered the lewd phrase 'F--- her right in the p----' into a CityNews reporter’s microphone.

The reporter went to confront the speaker but ended up talking with a different guy who thought it was all good fun and defended the crude line.

Bad move. Shawn Simoes was ridiculed throughout the media. His 15 minutes of fame ended in his employer, Hydro One, firing him on the ground that his moronic behaviour, even though it was done off-duty, violated their code of conduct. Simoes apologized, but only when it was too late.

Social media and news outlets used this as a springboard to talk about sexism in society.

The Canadian Press quoted one observer as saying “overt sexism can take a heavy toll on society as a whole.”

A commenter on the popular BlogTO called it “a rape culture rallying cry.”

Over a couple of days, everyone roundly condemned the comment and congratulated the reporter. While some people thought it was a bit much to fire Simoes, nobody of significance defended or rationalized his antics.

Let’s compare that with another flagrant example of sexism that happened last Tuesday.

A boys' soccer team from the private ISNA Islamic High School didn’t want to finish a game against Robert F. Hall Catholic School because there were two girls on the team.

Their coach approached the referee of the Brampton tournament to explain they would either forfeit or the girls could sit off for the second half.

By this point they were losing 3-1. There had been no incident prior to half-time and the ISNA school wasn’t a newcomer to the league.

Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association rules stipulate “If a sport activity is not available for a female on a girls’ team, she is eligible to participate on a boys’ team following a successful tryout.”

Essa Abdool-Karim, coach of the ISNA team, explained that “we want them to understand this balance between religion and having to sacrifice the sport you love is a difficult situation.”

He added “it’s got nothing to do with discrimination or anything like that it’s got to do with respect.”

But respect for which party? “I don’t want to ruin this for the rest of the team,” said one of the girls who stopped playing.

So a young woman was made to feel that her mere presence was ruining an environment.

The bottom line is here’s a sports team whose coach and players are advocating a view of women and gender that is incompatible with Canadian values to the point where it’s ruining youth sports.

Seems like a no brainer to me that these goofballs deserve the same amount of public shaming as the FHRITP brigade. But this has received far less attention.

Why did the social media mobs not jump all over this? Why is no one demanding Abdool-Karim resign for making such a request? Why do people respond differently when it’s Islam that is the offending party?

“It was never the team's intention to exclude female participation,” a later statement by ISNA explains. “The team sincerely regrets if any team members or participants were hurt or felt discriminated."

Really? Sorry but actions speak louder than words.

 



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