At the Intersection of the Huskies' Loss and This ESPN Column Is a Box of Tissues


The amazing 90-game winning streak enjoyed by the Connecticut Huskies came to an end with their 71-59 loss to Stanford. Sad? This ESPN column in which sportsdudes make dumb sexist comments about them might make you cry even harder.

Columnist Gene Wojciechowski asked Adam Walsh, who coaches the men’s basketball team at Centenary College, if his team could beat UConn in a game. Centenary’s men’s team comes in last place—i.e., 345th—according to at least one apparently reputable-enough computerized ranking of Division I men’s teams. Walsh’s response? “[UConn’s] pretty good … I don’t think a men’s scholarship program loses to them. But I’ve had that debate myself. I think most coaches have had that debate.”


It’s important to note that Walsh bases his answer on some imaginary, uniformly scholarship-endowed version of his current team. Maybe he did this to dilute any potential sexist overtones or undertones in his answer? If the players were all “scholarship guys,” after all, they’d win against the UConn women’s team, because not only would they’d have the male advantage—but also because they’d be special, prize-winning male players. As it stands, Walsh’s team has only four scholarship winners. But even with this imperfect lineup—which hasn’t won a game yet—he can only muster an “I don’t know” when asked if the best women’s team could beat the worst men’s team. Why? Oh, no reason why, besides that male advantage!

For his part, Wojciechowski—who claims he was surprised that Walsh didn’t “slam down the phone or ask Tucker Carlson to demand I be executed” upon asking his question about who would beat who—agrees with Walsh. “No D-I men’s program with a roster of players on full scholly would get beat by the UConn women,” he writes. “But I’d pay to watch the game.” Because wow, wouldn’t that be quite a novelty!

Why is it so fucking hard for these guys to imagine that maybe, just maybe, a teamful of women could be better than a teamful of men who so far haven’t proven they can win a damned game? It’s very easy for me to imagine that a championship women’s team could pulverize the crap out of a bunch of guys on the court. Sure, Wojciechowski describes the Huskies’ performance as “amazing,” which is very nice of him—but it’s also impossible to dispute, like “the sun is hot” is impossible to dispute. The rest of his column only reinforces the notion that women athletes are second-best: female athletes can only aspire to reach the potential of their male counterparts. They’ll never be as good—which is just bullshit.

Wojciechowski thinks a match between UConn and a Division II or III team could be a fun “gimmick, a chance to prove that women’s basketball doesn’t need to prove a thing.” In addition to being totally ick, the statement’s also contradictory: if women didn’t have anything left to prove, then why would Wojciechowski feel compelled to make the Tucker Carlson/execution comments, or note that Walsh wasn’t “embarrassed to admit” that UConn superstar forward Maya Moore could play on Centenary’s team.? There’s absolutely no reason why Walsh should be embarrassed to “admit” anything of the sort, unless we all accept the ridiculous notion that having a woman on your team would lessen its value. Some of us don’t, and won’t!

UConn women vs. Centenary men [ESPN]

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