If you’re like me, you can’t stand San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. He seems like he believes he is entitled to everything and I just don’t like the way he goes about the sidelines on Sundays. However, after hearing about what he did for a female reporter when he played for the Chicago Bears, I can’t help but hate him a lot less.
In the 1980s, it was hard for female reporters to get access to the locker rooms during the week of practice. Chicago radio reporter Cheryl Raye-Stout says she never had a problem getting into the locker room after games because of the big crowd, but during the week of practice she struggled to get in because she was a lot more noticeable in a small crowd.
She says she was greeted with “angry, hurtful words, and loud obnoxious screams” her first time in a locker room. She was told to leave and she had to wait outside and ask players to stop and talk to her for the remainder of the season. The 1980s were a different time, but it doesn’t change the fact her situation was beyond unfair and I am glad my generation has made moves towards getting real equal rights for women.
As the story goes, a media person brought rookie Jim Harbaugh out to Raye-Stout for an interview. She says Harbaugh’s first words were “why can’t she go in the locker room like she does after games?” Harbaugh challenged the status quo and that is something that cannot be ignored.
Harbaugh deserves so much respect for staying ahead of the curve in what, at the time, was a man’s game in all aspects of the industry. Stories like this just put a smile on my face. Even if you hate Harbaugh, you can’t help but respect the man for changing a tough situation for a female reporter.
I will never root for Harbaugh because he coaches my least favorite team, but next time he does something ridiculous on the sidelines, I will not be so quick to judge him.
Follow Kase Brammer @KBlive33