Sexist, homophobic, racist…but that’s what we want in our sports commentators isn’t it?

Let me put my cards on the table. I like Martin Devlin, in fact if I am out and about between 9am and midday he is my choice to listen to on 693am in Dunedin. I think he is a amazing broadcaster and a nice guy but his rant yesterday to an abusive texter demonstrated once again that Radio Sport has an underbelly of misogynist, homophobic, sexist men who are now the only voice in NZ if you want to listen to entertaining sports commentary on the radio.

Whether it’s on Mark Watson’s show where they think that AFL is ‘bloody gay’ or the convicted criminal in residence who breaks bones in a woman’s back then he himself plays the victim card over and over again. A ‘man’ who is probably the only radio host in the country with his own offenders page on the Sensible Sentencing Trust website. ย It would seem that the sentiment of degrading women and minorities is, if not encouraged, certainly acceptable to the bosses atย Radio Sport.

To the issue yesterday, I do have empathy for Devlin having been on the receiving end of many text, emails and calls whilst working for Newstalk ZB up to, and including, death threats (I have an account of some of them here if it interests you) and many of us that have been in that position would have liked to do what Devlin did. In fact I’ll go so far is to say I agree with him that just because people work in a public space, no one has the right to be abusive to that person so it’s not what he did…it’s that the terminology he used to the abusive texter that demonstrates the underbelly of the ethos that is acceptable (at least to management) at Radio Sport.

As I said, many of us in the position that Devlin was in may have wanted to do the same thing, and I don’t actually criticize him for calling the texter out, however what I will point to is the language that he used to attempt to shame, insult and degrade the texter.

“Pussy bitch”
“You girl”
“Bitch”
“Pussy bitch”
“You girl”
“Girl”
“You girl”

See a pattern? And I haven’t been selective here, these were the only insults thrown at the texter. Devlin didn’t slip in a ‘coward’ or an ‘idiot’ at any stage, just the list above.

Every term that Devlin threw at the abusive texter wanting to shame, insult and/or degrade him or her was feminine. All the terms that Martin Devlin used to throw abuse back at, and insult the texter, either referenced a female, a female animal, or a female body part in an incredibly crass way.

When we think it is okay to use the way someone looks, or acts, or is…as basically a swear word, then we need to check ourselves. Isn’t it interesting that there are no real words we throw as insults to one another that represent white males, yet women, minorities and the LGBTI community all have representative words that we use to insult one another.

I am sure Martin Devlin didn’t mean to degrade all women by basically using their likeness or words that represent them, to hurl abuse at a texter but that then speaks to the culture at Radio Sport and somewhat to the culture in NZ.

There are words that we used to use like ‘hory’ and ‘retard’ that have gone the way of the dinosaur for good reasons. Now it’s time that we understand, and address that there are many more terms, that we feel comfortable to use as insults, that it is time to put into the annals of history.