Will Women Ever Have the Same Equality as Men on the Field?

I had many emotions when discovering Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had said it was “funny to hear a female” talk about football when questioned by Jourdan Rodrigue.

This occurred at the pre-match news press conference in which The Panthers, will take Detroit Lions on Sunday.

I was shocked than angry, then shocked again as if I was going through the seven stages of grief not only because of the comment but I respected Cam Newton as a QB.

What really struck a cord was this was almost a weekly occurrence for me as a football reporter last season covering Leyton Orient.

Not only that, back in 2014, when I worked for no money match reporting in the Scottish Highland League, I was told “sports writers are getting better looking” making me feel like I had no other substance to what I was doing apart from my looks.

Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running, which led him to smirk.

Unfortunately, I cannot count how many times people belittled me in my profession from little remarks such as “clever girl” when speaking about certain plays or rules because it is too many.

Not even just from men. A woman saying I could not have an opinion on whether Titanic was good or not because all I cared about was sports. As if that makes me less of a lady who could not hold that opinion on a romantic movie.

I had many dream jobs when I first became a “rookie” sports reporter, being a club journalist, TV sports reporter, match day commentator, to be told some clubs don’t hire females because “on away days we stay in hotels”.

So because I am a female and we stay in a hotel I cannot be a football club reporter?

In 2017, when NFL players are taking a knee for equality, shouldn’t the world already be showing equality for woman in sports-related roles?

I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, fighting my legitimacy as a reporter, being called “BAE” and someone shouting it’s ok you can’t write because “you are good looking”.

Even having one person go as a far as he completed a weekly social media tirade of how in his eyes I couldn’t write and had to ask constantly if I won a competition to cover Football because I was a terrible reporter.

I’d even go as far to say I might have even worked harder than some men to get to where I am just because I am a woman.

To be honest, I am sure Newton did not mean it in that way. The problem is he has done it and he was caught on camera.

On Thursday evening, Newton released a statement saying what he did was “extremely unacceptable”.

He continued: “The fact that during the whole process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realise that the joke is really on me. I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this.”

He later noted that he himself is a father of two young daughters, he directed a message to his young fans: “I hope you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me. Be better than me.”

I do think it is sincere, maybe partly because he realised he has lost sponsors and fans, but he came out and owned up (even though he did not mention Rodrigue by name when apologising).

However, the issue still remains and I can tell you these comments, remarks or looks happen every weekend to a woman working as a sports reporter.

Women should not be made to feel like undermined like they do not belong in this industry.

I know more about some sports than some of my male friends because I love it and partly because I may feel like I have too and even Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has backed me up on that one.

What is the saddest thing from this whole comment debacle, is the reaction on social media.

Men coming out and saying it was not meant, and we are blowing it out of proportion.

Female news journalists face the same type of scrutiny but by saying it is us taking things to far because of our “emotions” is another problem in itself.

However, I have been encouraged. While the minority few sticking to their remarks about females, other men have vented their anger and annoyance at the QB and others who made similar comments on social media.

It strikes me as crazy that remarks like these are still made. I use to feel once I moved higher up the rank, sexism and derogatory comments would be removed.

And sadly I was completely wrong, but I have hope, it will change.

Cam Newton-min

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Epping and Waltham Abbey racers finish well after tough start at Oulton Park

Ayrton Simmons demonstrated an inspiring comeback when he climbed his way from 13th to sixth in round 11 of the F4 British Championship at Oulton Park.

The Epping racer will take heart from his position as he crossed the chequered flag just8.998s behind leader Oscar Piastri.

This result means the 16-year-old sits eighth in the championship standings on 67.5 points.

He said: “Last Sunday was probably my most difficult race weekend of my career so far!

“I was dogged by throttle software issues until after qualifying. I actually qualified in position eight with only 90 per cent throttle.

My team worked hard to solve the problem but still had engine power mapping issues and this cannot be adjusted by the team. “In race one, I went from eighth to seventh at the start and then got tagged off on turn five. I had to stop for a new front wing but by then my race was over.

“Race two saw me start at P13 and I had the chance to shine and I got up to P six in four laps. “Unfortunately the race was stopped at the halfway point as Jamie Caroline (the championship leader) barrel rolled into the tyre barriers.

“I saw it all as he was directly in front of me. I feared the worst but luckily he walked away unscathed.

“It is now on to the next race at Croft hopefully with more engine power!”

Elsewhere, Waltham Abbey racer Ben Green endured a tough Saturday in round seven and eight of The Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Oulton Park.

Green started the race in position eight after he put in a solid qualifying time despite difficult track conditions.

Green, along with his teammate at Century Motorsport Declan Jones, both had good starts but with the former putting in a very fast first lap.

Unfortunately, the bad luck hit and an early wide corner for Green saw him pick up a slow puncture.

The tyre soon disintegrated entirely and this meant he had to retire from the race.

The damage left his team with a lot of work to get the 19-year-old ready for the second race.

However, on Sunday, Green had a particularly good start and managed to finish in position four.

The end of Sunday saw the driver finish fifth with 131 points for the 2017 Supercup.

Century Motorsport Team principle Nathan Freke said: “It was looking very promising at the start of the weekend and we were showing good signs of pace. It was very difficult conditions, but Declan and Ben did a good job.”

Motorsport is a secret hobby of mine. Well maybe not to such a secret. I just love the noise and atmosphere it has when you are standing beside the paddock cheering on your favourite driver.

What is more entertaining than that? I decided to change up my blog a little bit. The season got too hectic to keep writing about local fish and chips shops although I am partial to throw one in now and then.

This will be more of a document of all things I write in my full-time job along with any added extras!

Watch out for my video package I will be adding to my youtube page. It is very visual and exciting. Simmonnnsss.jpg

Review: Historic play one of my favourites

The sound of Clapton Orient fans ringing out in The Greater Game play at the Southwark Playhouse gave us an instant connection to the story.

A hundred years on from the Battle of the Somme where three of the team, now known as Leyton Orient’s, best players died, Richard ‘Mac’ McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott, the star-studded cast featuring Charlie Clements and Nick Hancock brought home just how many were affected.

It begins with a scene from the Western Front where Noland ‘Peggy’ Evans, who is played by Benidorm’s Danny Walters, signs off with ‘how did we end up here?’ A poignant question which enticed the audience.

The rest of the first half followed suit with a flashback to when Mac and Jonas became best friends back in Newcastle and when Mac was first signed for the O’s for £150.

It then went on to show with what so significant about the Football Battalion, which was the instant bond and banter between teammates and the manager.

Orient was one of the top team at the time playing the likes of Fulham and Burnley and Mac scored 21 goals in his first season.

Watching the story unfold to the day they all signed up for war en mass was gripping as we were transported into 1914 when everyone thought the conflict would be over by Christmas.

Billy Holmes, the then manager for Clapton, said: “You are all heroes” and back then they were not just heroes for their country but for the fans and for the O’s.

Writer Michael Head, who also played Herbert ‘Jumbo’ Reason, intricately wrote the first and opening scene of the second half to connect the dots, how did they get there?

Another plotline showed how the wives and family coped back home such as Isabella Mac and Mary-Jane Jonas, portrayed by Laura Webb and Patsy Lowe.

And the regular updates sent from the team captain Fred ‘Spider’ Parker to the gaffer Holmes about their efforts on the front line.

The stage was perfectly set, in the round, so the audience felt part of the group and there was light relief for everyone watching and for the cast too in the character of Jimmy Hugall.

Hugall was the comedian, who played in goal for the O’s and having survived the war continued to play for the team.

As soon as the plot unfolded you felt as though you were an O and you were there with them which was an interesting set-up.

Many are affected by the tragedies of World War One to this day and you do not need to be an Orient fan to appreciate the hard work and detail that has went into the play from director Tilly Vosburgh and the entire cast.

A lot of people did not know what they were in for when they told to fight for King and Country and each scene hits you with a harsh reality and some tender and cherished moments.

Star Rating: *****

This was a review from a play I reviewed back in October. Unfortunately, I do not think they are touring at the moment but I do hope this comes back at some point.

It was a delight to watch.

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone,

So I am a sports reporter and I absolutely love my job but I also have a healthy obsession with travel and the excitement it brings.

While this mostly will be a travel blog I will upload some lifestyle pieces as well as my favourite sport articles.

I am venturing off to New York next month, one of my favourite places in the world. Not only is it breathtaking, it is steeped in history which makes it a remarkable place and I will be blogging about my trip whilst I live it up like a New Yorker – cheap pizza all round.

But what is most important is if you have ever thought of taking that extra step and doing that something a little bit scary DO IT. Nothing worth doing isn’t a little scary. It is also exciting,

I’ll leave you with Muhammad Ali’s wit and wisdom: Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Until next time!

Shona x