I recently spoke to a friend reharding American sports. We talked about a few things: Soccer and the Beckham deal (I will post an article on this next), UFC's bright future and the dying WNBA.
This particular friend, who is in journalism and is pretty observant of all sports, told me something that really surprised me and got me thinking. He told me that the WNBA was only being kept alive because the NBA "needed" to be politically correct and not offend women...who are big buyers of female sports apparel, etc. He said that the WNBA is one of the only sports that, when televised, doesn't "pan" the audience...or show camera shots of the audience. I asked him why? He stated that it was because most of the WNBA fanbase (even at games) is made up of gay women. This is something I had never thought about, but have always wondered why the sport (women's basketball) really hasn't caught on bigtime.
His argummet was also centered on the fact that a few WNBA players (including WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes) have come out of the closet...and that most of the players look more like men than he or I. OK, that is something that is up for heavy debate, but what he told me next really got me thinking he may be right about the poilitically correct aspect of it all. He told me that a great number of the sponsors were companies that sell primarily women's products - like Leggs pantyhose and L'Oreal (in addition to obvious ones like Coca-Cola and Nike). This got me to thinking that the only reason these "female" oriented companies/products would sponsor the WNBA was beecause of a politically correct motivation. Why? Panty hose and makeup are not exactly items that I associate with "these type" of "athletic" (more tomboyish or dare I say masculine) women.
Some WNBA owners (like former Charlotte Sting owner Bob Johnson) have given up on their franchise due to low popularity of the sport, which was founded in 1996 to provide an official tournament for women drawn to the game, and the (above mentioned) bad press from lesbian players. But are "Most" of the players gay? To say that most of them look masculine and a (relatively) high number of the players have admitted to being lesbian doesn't seem like enough proof on the surface. But when you consider the fact that the only other sports that have had admitted gay participants are ones like tennis and diving...it really got me to thinking that maybe saying most of the WNBA players are lesbians isn't far off!
So, ARE most of the players in the WNBA gay? Is the WNBA being kept alive because of a politically correct motivation? Would ending the WNBA cause a negative backlash among women sportswatchers and women consumers of tennis shoes to athletic equipment, etc.? To me this is very profound because it reveals allot about how the sports, entertainment and business world operate...where the bottom line isn't about how well a female plays basketball...but how much money their games (ticket sales) can generate.
I am not a chauvinist, but this also raises the question of whether or not America wants to see females participate in traditionally masculine sports like basketball or boxing?
What say you America??