Make us your home page

The Feed

What you're talking about today

NYT recognizes WFLA anchor Gayle Sierens while shrugging off some serious sexism



Gaylesierens150x190 The New York Times has an interesting feature on WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Gayle Sierens, who remains a part of football history as the only woman  to call play-by-play for an NFL game.

It's a pleasant little story recounting how Sierens entered the history books. But it offers a superficial answer to an important question:

Why hasn't another women pulled this off in 20 years?

The story quotes others saying they aren't surprised that Sierens remains the only woman to have achieved this feat -- the story says college football play-by-play ranks are dominated by males, also -- but there's no feedback from any executives currently at broadcast networks about why a woman hasn't called a game since (there is a quote from an ESPN executive saying their goal is to increase acceptance for female announcers with no details on how they are doing that).

Sierens' feat came in 1987 during the last regular-season game, between the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs, set up by an NBC Sports executive producer who wanted to break the glass ceiling. But Sierens was already a full-time anchor at WFLA by then, and the station wouldn't let her do any more games without giving up her job. And somehow the TV industry never found another woman to try this gig in two decades?

The final irony: Most local stations these days would probably love to have an anchor with the kind of national profile that would come from being the only woman to call play-by-play games for the NFL. Even given the tenor of the times, it's surprising that WFLA management was so short-sighted in making Sierens give up such a high-profile job.   


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:55pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours