Posted February 04, 2014

WNBA’s Seattle Storm upset with Fox’s Super Bowl coverage

More Sports
Seattle Storm (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

The Seattle Storm won its second WNBA title in 2010. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

During the Seahawks’ victory in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Fox showed highlights from what it claimed was the city’s only professional sports champion — the 1979 SuperSonics.

That didn’t make the Seattle Storm — winners of the 2004 and 2010 WNBA titles — very happy, according to Jayda Evans of The Seattle Times.

Team president and CEO Karen Bryant and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, a member of both title teams, expressed their displeasure on Twitter.

“It’s time to look at this quantifier for what it is — sexist,” Evans wrote. “The WNBA is the only successful women’s professional league in America. That makes it major. And that has to be recognized. Period. Finding a way to not mention it when simply throwing out a list of titles attached to a city is blatantly disregarding women’s pro sports and a city’s pride in its teams’ accomplishments.”

SI WIRE: Record 111.5 million people watched Super Bowl XLVIII


161 comments
JoeSarausad
JoeSarausad

I was in attendance (in 2004) at the Key when the Storm won the WNBA title. I was able to purchase tickets right before tip-off for $10 and sit 20 rows from the court. When the game was over, it was sort of the same feeling I have when my son finishes a meal without making a mess - I am very proud but in sort of a sarcastic sense. That is the best way I can encapsulate the Storm's Championship titles - kudos but please don't think you can hang with the Miami heat. I am not sexist. Heck, I'd rather watch Womens tennis than Mens... BTW - The upper bowl of the Key was not even full.  

Robert86
Robert86

Riddle:  If a women's basketball team wins a championship and there is no there to watch it, does it matter?

This isn't sexist - no one watches the WNBA.  Outside of the players and their families, if the WNBA never played another game, no one would care or notice.  This isn't sexist, it is fact.  This fact is equally applicable to the PBA and other "professional" sports organizations.

Contrast this with women's tennis, which based on viewers and media coverage, is every bit the equal as men's tennis. 

joel.wright01
joel.wright01

News flash to the WNBA:  When referring to cities and professional sports championships, it's generally understood that the conversation is restricted to the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL  -- the Big Four.  I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of folks who are either fans of pro sports or cover pro sports do not consider the WNBA as one of the major professional leagues in the US.  Even SI.com regards the WNBA an afterthought. Just try finding the "WNBA" section on their webite.  If you look at the top of SI's home page you'll find tabs for (from left to right) NFL, MMQB, NCAAF, Olympics, MLB, NBA, NCAAB, Golf, NHL, Soccer, Tennis, and "More".  News about the WNBA is in the "More" section, lumped in with news about Cricket, High School sports, and SI Kids.

ryankw
ryankw

One one hand, one could say that the WNBA is not "pro" because the NBA does not prohibit women, and if any were on a level with the best, they'd be playing in the NBA.


However, I'm a big tennis fan, and I know that I view female tennis championships as being top tier, so maybe I'm inconsistent.

Jaguar
Jaguar

Hm. I was wondering when this would pop up. I heard the remark made during the live broadcast, and I've been pondering how to approach this particular can-o'-worms for a week....


I, too, made the comment, "the Seattle Storm won two WNBA titles..." But, do we consider that on par with the 'Hawks winning the Super Bowl? Well, obviously, "no" would be the answer.
Now, mind you, the people in Seattle tend to be very alternative, and when we were all talking after SBXLVIII, we all touched on the Storms titles with respect. I, personally, don't follow the WNBA, or the NBA. I haven't since they took our Sonics away. But, I have been wondering how to best approach this topic, and resolve everyone's frustrations....

I think I have a solution here... Since we're talking sports data, let's use the most widely misunderstood element in statistical reporting: The Asterisk *.


"The city’s only professional sports* champion — the 1979 SuperSonics.
(*: Not counting the Seattle Storm's 2004 & 2010 WNBA Championships.)"

Boom. done. Moving on... I think I might pay more attention to the Storm now, though. And it's not because of this article, it's because of the same reason I still quietly cheer for the M's, even though I know they're gonna suck after the All-Star break. It's because Seattle prides itself on being a "Fan" city. We love being fans. The 12th Man is everywhere, the Sounders faithful rock their scarves all year long. We are die-hard fans for the Mariners, despite knowing the owners and front office don't care about producing a winning team. We love our hockey teams, the Thunderbirds and the Silvertips (yes, i know the 'Tips are technically Everett.. but it's all the same.) We love the Aquasox and the Rainiers. And you don't even wanna start getting into it with Huskies fans. But, we haven't been very supportive of our WNBA team. And I don't think that's acceptable from the Seattle faithful. I make a vow to be more supportive of them. We can do for them what we did for the Sounders. Their success as an organization can be linked directly to fan support. Same with the Seahawks current success, and look at the past success of the Mariners, and how much fan support they had ("SODO Mojo!")

And if you need further motivation?? It's because we love a challenge as fans. So, what say you, Seattle? You game to try?

derekleewhite
derekleewhite

Calm down ladies 90% of people didn't know we had a wnba team 

stagger
stagger

Move over ladies. The Seattle Metropolitans would also like to complain. Stanley Cup winners in 1917. On second thought, no need to move,  they're probably all dead. But, I'd bet they still have more fans than the Storm.

therealgramita
therealgramita

"...and a city’s pride in its teams’ accomplishments."


Anyone else remember this?  I didn't even remember that they won any championships, I'm not even sure if I knew at the time.  The SB parade...THAT was a display of a city's pride in it's team's accomplishments.  I don't remember seeing even a tiny fraction of that for the Storm...  I can forgive disregarding something that barely exists...

messirules
messirules

I don't think that this is sexist at all! I'm sure if Seattle had a AFL team that had a championship it would not be mentioned. When referenced in the broadcast, they were talking about MAJOR sports, and last time I checked neither the AFL nor the WNBA were major. 

rainman90
rainman90

"The WNBA is the only successful women’s professional league in America."

I don't think "successful" means what she thinks it means. 

RayIsBipolar
RayIsBipolar

Awww that's cute. The girls really think that their little niche sport that loses money counts. A league that draws less than 8,000 beaver hunters per contest as a whole does not count as a major anything. 

africa.belgrave
africa.belgrave

The relevance of the WNBA or it's financial success is irrelevant to the fact that FOX made a mistake, a mistake that is powered by sexism. Sexism colored the idea that the WNBA isn't a professional league. And it is. By definition, the Seahawks Super Bowl win is not the first pro title since the late 70's.

T_guy35
T_guy35

“It’s time to look at this quantifier for what it is — sexist,” Evans wrote. “The WNBA is the only successful women’s professional league in America. That makes it major."


Calling something major doesn't make it major. It's not sexist because people don't want to watch it. That's like saying it's sexist because most men don't want to watch gay porn. lol

muser
muser

This is almost as pathetic as when the Feminazis forced the Storm's Sue Bird (hottest WNBA player ever) to back out of a bet with the local Seattle sports radio station. If she averaged about half her usual assist ratio they would buy season tickets and donate them, if she didn't (an impossibility) one of the jocks would get to spank her...

muser
muser

Go bake some cookies....

DrMad01
DrMad01

I would rather watch a WNBA Game than this wretched game they call Basketball in the NBA.  NO egos, no Big money, and Basketball played the right way (within the rules).  Team game... Give the women their due.  


JohnMarlin
JohnMarlin

There is a pro Women's BB league?  Yeah Right

sfarris.math@gmail.com
sfarris.math@gmail.com

One must look at this from perspective.  I am from Seattle, although I do not presently reside there. I was *at* the 7th game of the *1978* NBA finals when Seattle became what is still today the *last team* to lose an NBA title series at home in the 7th game. Dubious for sure.  I was happy when they won the championship the next year.  That *was* Seattle's first championship in anything practically speaking on modestly top circuits of sports.  I am very very careful to say that The Seahawks victory is the second championship for Seattle in the *four US major men's sports*.  Those commonly include, football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.  I struggled through the Mariners losing in the American League championship never to have made the World Series.  I went to *Seattle Pilots* games in 1970 just to see that baseball team move to Milwaukee.  Fine, dandy.  

I am also simply cognizant of the two  WNBA titles won by the Seattle Storm WNBA team.  I give them kudos for those, and acknowledge the significance of their two championships in their pinnacle league for professional women's sports in the U.S.  I also stop to indicate that Seattle has won some championships in U.S. professional soccer leagues.  I am a big soccer fan. I acknowledge accomplished athletes to come out of Washington State, Phil and Steve Maher, Hope Solo, Warren Moon, etc.  I will no doubt leave people out.  But, I try to remember them *all* as great champions. 

The bottom line?  Fox sports needs to caveat their statements acknowledging these other championships and athletes as well.  At least briefly.  I knew they made a mistake when they did that during the Super Bowl.  Forgetting to mentions accomplishments is a lot like the Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences, who give out the Oscars, forgetting modestly contributory names of those who passed away during the previous year at the awards ceremony when they play the remembrance of these people.  It just isn't very smart, and doesn't take too much effort to track these news facts down.  For those who say, "it really isn't a major sport," haven't been on the receiving end of that disrespect.



marcusb2323
marcusb2323

Layup, layup, jump shot, layup....stop me if this is getting to exciting.


You can buy season tickets for a WNBA team for less than it would cost to sit courtside at any one regular season NBA game.  The NBA, as well as, other local & national entities subsidize the WNBA.  It is an inefficient business model that would fold without subsidies/handouts.  

giggity83
giggity83

Nobody cares that's why.  They give away tickets just to try and fill seats.  If they weren't propped up by the actual NBA they would have been gone before the first season completed.


bicdum
bicdum

The WNBA only exists because it is subsidized/propped up by the NBA...it is not a legitimate league, it could not survive without charity.

nortran11
nortran11

Hey, we have a Stanley Cup too!

SARDiver
SARDiver

" “It’s time to look at this quantifier for what it is — sexist,” Evans wrote. “The WNBA is the only successful women’s professional league in America. That makes it major. And that has to be recognized. Period."

Have they forgotten about the LPGA?

davide1
davide1

It is so annoying to read some of the silly stuff written here about the Storm. Some nights these women drew more than 14,000 to a game. THey were very relevant in the city especially beacuse they were the only team in the city having any success

iloveseacock
iloveseacock

if you asked me who the greatest WNBA player of all time was...Id probably guess Michelle Jordan

jjazznola
jjazznola

This is a joke. Have the ever even sold out a game? Have they ever even had a crowd of over 1000? Even the NY Liberty play to small crowds in NYC. No one cares!

TheDudeSpeaks
TheDudeSpeaks

Mad props to these woman. Fox sucks and so did their broadcast.

86celts
86celts

really? barely a single comment in support of these women? How about you trolls go out there and try to take on Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson? They'd tear you apart. They swept every team on their way to the 2010 championship. Bird and Jackson are both HOF players who are hugely talented and have brought the sport forward over the years. Basketball is a great sport, whether played by men or women. We should recognize it as such.

Also, the WNBA started in 1997, which puts them at barely 17 years old. It wasn't like the NBA was financially successful in their first 20 years either.

Props to the Storm!

therealgramita
therealgramita

@africa.belgrave  You are right, it's technically not true.   But there's 2 things I'm not sure of- 1) Were these reporters being sexist for reporting it the way pretty much everyone feels, or is the sexism more at the root- the fact that unfortunately it's just true that most people don't care about female professional sports (and I'm not talking about individuals, but the general picture if you look at revenue, attendance etc).

The second thing is- although I know there has to be some sexism involved, I'm not really sure that tells the whole story.  I think part of it is just rooted in the reason we like sports.  We want to see people competing at the highest levels of physicality, and while elite female athletes are BY FAR better conditioned and talented than most average men in the world, biologically they just can't mach the level of elite male athletes.  We don't just want to watch people better than US, we want to watch the best, whatever it is.   I can't deny the fact that part of the lack of success of female sports has to be the male attitude about what it means to be female, or what we want in a female- for probably the majority of men there's an incompatibility there that causes bias toward disliking or being dismissive of female sports.  But I'm not sure it accounts for the whole picture.

prg6yb
prg6yb

@africa.belgrave  a "mistake that is powered by sexism?"  Maybe.  There are a lot of reasons the mistake could have been made.

davide1
davide1

@T_guy35  THat was the most idiotic comparison ever. Do you know what sexist means? Or do you think it as something to with the "sex" the act? Damn!!!!!

JimVan
JimVan

Go --- yourself, you SEXIST!

Zaxxon
Zaxxon

@DrMad01  No one's stopping you from watching WNBA games. Plenty of seats available. Just don't pretend that they're equal to the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB.

T_guy35
T_guy35

@DrMad01  Feel free. You should have no problem finding good cheap seats. I just hope the NBA will survive without you. 

pipdmx33
pipdmx33

@DrMad01 Yeah, I hate athleticism too. Can't stand that there are a couple of women dunking now. 

muser
muser

@DrMad01  The Seattle High School champs would beat the Storm by 30 points..... 

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

@SARDiver  Fair point, but the LPGA is a group of individuals, not a team league. 

Zaxxon
Zaxxon

@davide1  They were relevant to the people attending the games. Like the WNBA but don't pretend it's something it's not. There's a reason many players have to go overseas to play in more competitive leagues that pay more.

davide1
davide1

@jjazznola  What are you talking about? I went to a game that had almost 15,000 fans. For a long time they were the only pro team having any success in the Seattle

muser
muser

@86celts  A High School boys team would beat the Storm by 20.....

Ryan16
Ryan16

@86celts there is more athleticism on display in second division university teams than the wnba 

SARDiver
SARDiver

That's a fair point, but the comment struck me as ignoring the successful women's sport. I wouldn't consider the WNBA successful. I honestly thought they'd folded.

stevinator88
stevinator88

@davide1 @jjazznola  Nobody is saying that they didn't draw a decent number of fans to a game every now and then, or that they are not more talented than 99% of the people commenting on here. The argument is that it is not a major sport. Look at the facts: 1) almost every team is losing money and the majority receive a subsidy from the NBA. 2) the overall attendance and interest is quite low even for their biggest games-"even with an ESPN contract. Games 2 and 3 of last year’s WNBA Finals averaged a 0.4 television rating. To compare, Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals earned a 10.67." (Chicago Suntimes) 3) arguing that they once drew 15,000 to a game is a highly flawed argument for two reasons; first you yourself admit that they were the only successful team in town, also a more accurate way to state it is they were the only team in town, No NBA team, No NHL  team= boredom. If they didn't draw 15,000 in a city with no real enticing alternatives it would be an embarrassment. Secondly crowd size does not lend credence to the fact that a certain sport is considered relevant to the country. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world but do we as Americans collectively care? No. It is not considered a major sport i.e. not worth mentioning or thinking about. The fact is the WNBA while full of talented woman is a supremely inferior product when compared to MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA. I would even contend that tennis is a bigger, more profitable, more legitimate sport that is much more relevant than the WNBA. lets not sit here and pretend that the WNBA is a viable business or one that matters or is present in the mind of 99% of sports fans, Even NASCAR beats out the WNBA.

86celts
86celts

@Ryan16 @86celtsWhat kind of athleticism are you talking about? Running fast? Jumping high? Sure the WNBA players are not as athletic in that regard as your average NBA players. But athleticism also means body control, hand-eye coordination, soft and strong hands, quick feet, a quick mind, etc. And in those cases, WNBA players by and large have any D-II mens squad beat. Your conception of "athletic" is incomplete. And I wonder if you're confusing athleticism with talent?


Finally, let's say you're right and I would hypothetically surrender to you the point that an average D-II mens team is more athletic than your average WNBA team. Is that your argument for what makes a major professional sport? Should the WNBA and the accomplishments of its players not be recognized because their players aren't quite as "athletic" (to your limited standards) as NBA players?

davide1
davide1

@asdf @newshamg @SARDiver  So now we are counting individual sports like the LPGA? I guess we should talk about Michael Chang's French Open win. He is from Mercer Island. Bunch of fools bending over backwards to discredit the Storm making yourselves look like a bunch of testicular driven idiots

newshamg
newshamg

@davide1


I have - and he's correct. There is almost no athleticism in the women's game - but that's not exactly rocket science to have figured that out.