By Rachel Belle
Thursday is the first Cougar game of the season and joining them on the field, for the very first time, is 710 ESPN producer Jessamyn McIntyre, the first female Washington State University sideline reporter that we’ve ever heard of. Jessamyn says it’s no longer very significant to be a female sideline reporter, since there are many, but it’s still tough for a woman to get a job in football.
“Well it’s awesome because I finally get to be part of it. As a girl, I always played sports growing up. I ran track, I played volleyball, basketball. But I was never a part of football. Now I really feel I’m part of it. They really welcomed me into the Cougar family and they really welcomed me into the team.”
But there is one guy who was not so welcoming. After the announcement that Jessamyn got the job, she got an angry voicemail message:
“It just sickens me how many jobs are being taking away from qualified male sideline reporters because they want a female sideline reporter! I’m sure she’s a nice gal but I guarantee you there way more other men who are qualified. But because she’s a female and she’s got !$*&^ and people like to look at her, they’re going to hire her. That sickens me! I’ve seen some of these female sideline reporters and they suck! They’re just there because they look good. So women, don’t get mad when men are just looking at your breasts because that’s how you got your job and that’s what you should expect! You didn’t get it on your qualifications.”
“The message that the guy left said that I got hired because of my various anatomical parts,” Jessamyn laughs. “So, I thought it was awesome because I’m like, ‘Thank you for thinking I’m hot enough to get a job based on my looks!’ That’s awesome! So I don’t really care. I’ll let my work speak for itself.”
Former Husky and Seahawk, and current 710 ESPN talk host, Brock Huard, speculates on why woman are mostly used on the sidelines, and not for play-by-play or color analysis.
“Football is maybe a threshold that’s a little harder to break because it’s just a male dominated sport.”
I asked Brock if part of the hesitancy is because women haven’t played football, so they don’t have that first hand experience.
“I think that’s absolutely a part of it. Now having said that, has every play-by-play football announcer played football at a high level? Did some of them even play high school football? I’m sure there are many that never even played at that level. I think there is some stereotype involved there, that it’s kind of a man’s place, it’s a man’s game. There’s collisions, there’s violence. That’s just the nature of football and men are more familiar with men calling it then they are with women.”
This month, Shannon Eastin became the first female to referee an NFL game and Brock has no doubt that more career doors will open up for women, especially since so much respect is given to them on the sidelines. So keep an eye out for our buddy Jessamyn on the field this Thursday. Even though she’s fighting to be a woman in a man’s world, she does bring some girlyness to the football field.
“Crimson and grey. I’ve got half a closet-full already and some flats, as I was told to wear on the sideline by the head coach. I went and bought some [crimson flats]. It was my first little Cougar splurge.”