You've Come a Long Way
By Corine Gatti
When covering the Eastern Hockey League, I rarely dealt with discrimination or having equal access to the locker rooms. I waited in the equipment room outside the locker room doors while public relations snagged a player for post game interviews until a coach put some fire in me.
Legendary hockey coach John Brophy was notorious for speaking his mind, and keeping his temper in check. Then he barked at me as a beginning reporter insisting I stop being timid and “get the bleep in there (locker room).” He reminded me that I had as much right to do post-game interview like my male peers. This was a pivotal moment for me in my early years as a reporter. While covering the American Hockey League, I had a similar experience. The GM, players, and front office treated me fairly. If a player got out of hand, they took care of it. Not all experiences were positive. While covering a baseball All-Star (Mets vs. their AAA team) game in the early 2000s, I was scowled by players or staff as I passed by to do an interview with catcher Mike Piazza. I was told to show more leg “this is baseball, honey.”
This was nothing compared to what my predecessors endured.
Title IX passed legislation in 1972 and women still struggled to break barriers in sports as athletes or journalists. They were granted equal access to locker rooms after a federal court decision six years later. But discrimination was still rampant. Reporters were taunted, humiliated and shunned.
The NHL wouldn’t allow women into the locker room to do interviews in 1975. A reporter from The New York Times and radio reporter, Marcel St. Cyr changed that. After the Times pleaded with the league to allow equal access, coaches relented, granting full access to All-Star Game in Montreal. This step led to more opportunity in the field.
Here are just a few women that stood up over the years.