Obama Bracket Challenge: Only guys got game? C’mon.

posted by Fair Game News
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 2:48am EDT

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By Laura Pappano

Sports are political. This year’s March Madness tournament has made that point even more clearly than usual as President Barack Obama’s campaign announced the “Obama Bracket Challenge:” Out pick the President and your name appears on the campaign website.

One big catch: The contest only applies to the men’s tournament.

Even as political observers heap praise on the campaign innovators who thought of the promotion, one has to wonder why at this moment they’ve dissed the women.

Isn’t this precisely the opening his campaign has been waiting for – given the Republican “war on women” and his reaching out to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke in the wake of the verbal tirade by Rush Limbaugh – to UNDERSCORE the value of women’s play?

The women’s NCAA playoff may not be as big as the men’s. We know that. We have known that for years and years. We are, frankly, tired of knowing that.

But even as news outlets continue to focus on the men’s DI tournament, many have discovered that – hey – it’s not so tough to also cover the women. (Ignoring them, after all, is getting awkward).

Inside Higher Ed’s annual academic performance bracket – looking at the playoff teams through graduation rates – this year for the first time includes analysis of women’s teams. The TeamRankings blog has discovered that “all of the rankings and simulations can be applied to the women’s side of things as well” and includes a table of round-by-round survival odds. And the Bleacher Report provides analysis of all the first round match-ups, pointing out that the “element of the unknown” in the men’s tourney “is ratcheted up to another level in the women’s tournament” (and yes, because many teams are never seen on national TV).

These may be small steps. But they matter. More people are filling out the women’s brackets. More outlets are considering the composition of the teams and the match-ups.

It’s too bad that the Fan-in-Chief missed what should have been an easy lay-up.


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There are 8 comments on this post. Join the discussion!

anngaff says:

Laura - they have the women's bracket as well:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:04am EDT

Crimson says:

Too Funny. Whenever I see posts like this I always wonder if the original author actually knew what was going on but just wanted to go on a politically correct rant or if they really didn't know.

Nice to see Gaff straighten things out. Ms. Pappano will have to save her righteous feminist indignation for a story that actually happened in the real world.

Memo - maybe going forward regardless of how tempting it might you shouldn't take a totally imagined position.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:00pm EDT

anngaff says:

Crimson, it wouldn't hurt you to be less rude on this site. And if you're going to call me Gaff, you should post under your real name and picture. Otherwise, it's Ann.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:04pm EDT

LPAPP@aol.com says:

Ann, thanks for the correx -- The LA Times political reports on the campaign challenge indicated it only applied to the men's bracket and when I posted there was no women's bracket challenge on the site. So apologies.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:16pm EDT

anngaff says:

Laura, you're welcome - it may be that they added the women's bracket after the fact - or that LA Times just missed it - you do have to scroll down to see the women's bracket. You'd think they'd have learned this by now, he got flack a few years ago for not filling out a women's bracket.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:19pm EDT

Crimson says:

Hey ANN,

I guess the real question here is why to I have to call contributors like Pappano and LaVoi out on their factually incorrect posts instead of you doing it? Are you that desperate for content?

As long as we're on the subject I've been visiting this site for over two years now. Haven't seen one serious post about what you ladies are doing about the ACL injury disaster going on in women's athletics in spite of the fact there are all kinds of objective, peer reviewed studies out there validating that women athletes particularly in basketball, volleyball and soccer have ACL tears at a rate of three to eight times that of male athletes.

I've been thinking that maybe one of you might care about the documented risk of arthritis 10 to 15 years down the road or knee replacement in another 20 years or so, but in spite of the facts I haven't seen anything of substance.

So like a lot of things in women's athletics you folks won't address it. The only time someone had a chance to legitimately do so is when LaVoi and her minions hammered Sokolove for his book.

Based upon those facts the only thing a person can assume is that you folks just feel that all of these girls' knees are just collateral damage in your mission.

So, I suggest either you guys engage on the ACL thing for female athletes now or you'll be called out with the rest. You have an opportunity here to do the right thing instead of wasting time on gender politics.

All of that said I really don't care what you do. Your action or lack thereof say exactly what they should about you. I'm moving forward either way and won't hesitate to quote this post in the process. Whether you bounce it or not.

I guess we'll see if you have the huevos to let this post stand or not.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:50pm EDT

anngaff says:

Thanks for the input. Quote whatever you want - whether or not you hide behind an anonymous moniker when you do so will say exactly what it should about YOU.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1:13pm EDT

Crimson says:

Cool how you're not letting the facts get in the way. How I post my identity has nothing to do with what is actually going on in the World but your position on it is totally consistent with how you ladies roll. Try a character check sometime.

Unlike you and your sisters, I'm worried about how female ex-athletes knees are allowing them to live 10 to 30 years after they compete versus prioritizing you and your cronies willingness to leverage their long term health for your short term political gains and calling it somehow empowering to them in the bargain.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1:52pm EDT

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