Women play "rough," too

Elizabeth Lambert says the media frenzy over her violent soccer game reveals the sexism in sports

Published November 18, 2009 10:44PM (EST)

Sure, Elizabeth Lambert regrets punching, kicking and hair-pulling her way to YouTube infamy. The suspended University of New Mexico soccer player is also seeking psychological help and refuses to make excuses for lashing out on the field -- but that doesn't mean she's going to let slide the media's sexism in its coverage of her dirty game. In Wednesday's New York Times, she shows she still has some fight left in her:

I definitely feel because I am a female it did bring about a lot more attention than if a male were to do it. It’s more expected for men to go out there and be rough. The female, we’re still looked at as, Oh, we kick the ball around and score a goal. But it’s not. We train very hard to reach the highest level we can get to.

The nature of the media coverage, if not the extent of it, was certainly dictated by her sex. That's understandable -- after all, we aren't as accustomed to seeing violent outbursts from women. The bigger issue, though, is that we aren't as accustomed to seeing female athletes. Remember, the only reason for the uproar is that a compilation video of her belligerence was posted online -- not because the world was actually tuned in to the game. Ironically, it might be that when we start taking female athletes seriously -- as Lambert suggests -- we won't be as shocked when they act like poor sports.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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