Don Cherry’s Dressing Room Delusions

She lay on the floor as firm hands gripped her ankles against his muscular chest. Their sweaty bodies moved in tandem to the steady beat of grunts and moans. Partially clad passers by ignored the writhing pair.

Despite the images Don Cherry’s comments during Coach’s Corner last Saturday may have impregnated in gullible minds, that’s not what goes on in post-game NHL interviews between players and female media, or male media if so inclined.

It’s just a typical session at the gym as my personal trainer and I go all out to create a faster, higher, stronger body for me.

I don’t hate or dislike Don Cherry. I don’t know him personally, have never met him but appreciate his extensive charity work. Cherry has long been a fierce advocate and proponent of female hockey. A real beauty, eh?  While our opinions differ on certain matters, the thought of him being sexist, the thought of him not putting people on equal footing never entered my mind. That’s why his recent comments stung.

Duncan Keith’s comments to Team 1040‘s Karen Thomson didn’t fire me up.  I’ve heard hockey players say similar things to male media; while interning at The Hockey News it was all in a day’s work. That’s why I took Keith’s comments with a lost shaker of salt. Some people considered them an attack on Thomson’s gender and Cherry’s public reaction was to, in essence, blame a woman for doing her job. The old, “if she hadn’t been there it never would have happened” gambit.

But we are there. Female media are here, there, everywhere and all over Hell’s half hectare. So are male media. It’s not about boys being boys; this is about professionals being professionals. If there are players and media who can’t handle that, they need to be dealt with on an individual basis.

Cherry spoke of having to protect women from disgusting and boorish behaviour exhibited by some athletes. His proposed solution isn’t to punish the perpetrators but to condone the antics and punish female media by denying them equal access to players. If you’re accredited media, you are accredited media – full stop.

We’re all at the rinks, media conferences, games, and practices doing the same job. Women in hockey are not a novelty anymore. There’s even one – Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times – in the Hockey Hall of Fame and deservedly so. You can’t kick us out.

You can however, give the boot to all media for so called dressing room interviews. But there has to be some clarification. Dressing or locker room to many people implies one room, with a toilet and a shower no one ever actually uses at the local rink.

In the NHL, it’s not really “a dressing room.” They are multi-room complexes. The dressing room in which media conduct post-game interviews is the tip of the ACC iceberg. There are no showers in there and no one runs about nude. This gem from Jody Vance and the late Wade Belak should get the point across. What you see at home after the game is what media see. If it’s appropriate for you to watch at home, it’s appropriate for media, even horror of horrors, female media to see in the room. Take a good look: most players are not even in the media area. They’re off being naked away from the cameras.

As for nudity, you see much more in the family change rooms at the community centre, at the gym, at the beach, in Old Spice commercials, and in college. While I was cutting my chops at the College of Sports Media, sometimes the guys would go play basketball at Moss Park between classes. Sometimes they didn’t have extra shirts so they’d go topless. My poor feminine eyes! There was even one guy who just for the hell of it, would occasionally doff his shirt to throw his interview partners off. I didn’t bat a single mascaraed eyelash.

Regarding women being above men and on a pedestal, spare me. Well, okay maybe just once I liked being up there. I’ll always cherish Jim Van Horne putting me above the guys (and one woman) by awarding me Top Writer honours in our graduating class at The College of Sports Media. I cherish it because it had nothing to do with male vs. female: it was recognition for what I do and that I do it very well. Thanks, Jim.

A lot of stereotypes have been tossed around over this issue, the usual crap about women getting into sports media to bang players and ogle their bodies in the dressing room.

I hate to break it to some of you guys, but “go find sweaty, smelly men to ogle in cramped dressing room” isn’t on a female reporter’s to do list.

If that were the case, it could be done a hell of a lot more easily than spending $40,000 and a few years in school to cut your sports media chops. Now where’s that “Youngblood” DVD?

About the author  ⁄ Monika Moravan

Monika Moravan is, was, and always will be a writer. She is a freelance journalist, editor, researcher, and voice artist. Growing up near Pickering, ON’s eight nuclear reactors fueled a bright and precocious imagination. Monika left a 15 year career in finance to enroll in The College of Sports Media’s inaugural class, where she earned a diploma and Top Writer honours. Her radio assignments include producing Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors’ broadcasts, reporting, voiceovers, and production. Recreational girls’ hockey wasn’t available to Monika as a child so she learned to extract warmth and wonder from a cold and contact filled sport through her words. She was ghostwriter and editor for Keith Primeau and Paul Rosen in the book “Concussed! Sports-related Head Injuries: Prevention, Coping and Personal Stories” by Keith Primeau and Kerry Goulet. Monika has written features for the Hockey Hall of Fame, IIHF, The Hockey News, Toronto Star, GTHL and served as an editor with The Society for International Hockey Research. Monika’s portfolio is not limited to hockey and she specializes in profiles for Metroland Durham. Somehow Monika has managed to spend 20 years together with her hockey hating husband. Their child turned out normal and is a goalie. Follow her on Twitter: @pocketmuser or www.monikamoravan.com

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *