If you had the opportunity to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game tonight on NBC, weren’t forced to continue to watch it (like our poor recap writer Hardev), and stayed watching until the final buzzer, you deserve some sort of award.
Do you know who else deserves an award? Kendall Coyne Schofield.
I don’t really have a concise title, but it should be something along the lines of “Coyne Schofield remained composed while having sexist and demeaning remarks hurled at her and still managing to give good colour commentary.”
Pierre McGuire’s language and tone towards Coyne Schofield was condescending, at best. I guess we should have been clued in to what a trainwreck it was during the pregame (which, thankfully, as a Canadian viewer, I was spared from viewing live):
"Tampa's going to be on your left, Pittsburgh's going to be on your right ... we're paying you to be an analyst, not be a fan tonight."— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) January 31, 2019
Pierre McGuire with a cringe-worthy exchange with Kendall Coyne Schofield (H/T @NHLBlinn). pic.twitter.com/sdaWBGd4DJ
Yes, Pierre mainsplained how a hockey game works to an Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player. It was incredibly ignominious and abhorrent.
I saw people say on Twitter last night that Coyne Schofield was struggling with her analysis. That’s neither here nor there. It was her first time ever providing color commentary, and she is human. And even with that in mind, I thought she was great. The issue is that McGuire repeatedly lambasted her with demeaning and misogynistic comments throughout the entire game. Even if she did struggle at times, she in no way deserved the way she was treated and spoken to tonight.
There was that appalling exchange during the pregame I mentioned earlier. She was asked a question about whether women’s hockey has defensemen who jump up into the rush. And perhaps the most cringeworthy (which is saying a lot) was McGuire’s comment about how he would “be [her] cage tonight” if the intensity of the play got too high. That came right after he compared a scuffle on the ice with the physicality of USA-Canada’s gold medal game at the Olympics.
That was followed by an extremely awkward silence.
And don’t forget that after her history-making skate at the NHL All Star Game, McGuire grabbed Coyne Schofield afterwards to steer her towards an interview:
Prior to the game, I was concerned that NBC’s decision to put Coyne Schofield in the box alongside McGuire wouldn’t afford her as many opportunities to give her analysis (we all know Pierre loves to talk). Boy, was that the least of my worries once the broadcast began. His comments made an already painful game to watch (for Lightning fans, anyways) even more unbearable.
I guarantee that Pierre didn’t say that to Brian Boucher once in his first runs as an analyst. No one told Paul Bissonnette that when he made his color debut. Treating Coyne as if she’s a kidcaster is embarrassing to watch.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) January 31, 2019
basically the price of admission to sports as a woman with any sort of public profile is having to remain poised + graceful while men just say the dumbest possible shit to you so Coyne really nailed that— Namita (@nnstats) January 31, 2019
I’m a third year student at Ryerson University in their Sport Media program. Everyone is given the opportunity to try their hand at calling games. Yes, some just have a natural talent for that, while others (like myself) struggle, but I can safely say that I have not heard anyone butcher color commentary in the way that Pierre McGuire did last night.
Our professors don’t explicitly sit us down and tell us not to be demeaning or condescending to our classmates. They shouldn’t have to! It should go without saying, especially in this day and age, to not talk down towards anyone, especially your colleagues.
I guess McGuire never got that memo. His conduct on NBC’s broadcast was embarrassing and shameful. It tarnished the broadcast. It was uncomfortable to watch. And it was downright infuriating to watch a woman be talked down to by her less-accomplished colleagues on national television.
NBC should not have put Coyne Schofield in that position. She would have been perfectly capable (and good) at providing color commentary on her own. On the odd chance where she wasn’t subjected to disrespectful comments, she provided apt and concise analysis — exactly what I had been hoping for and expecting. What should have been a surreal and positive moment in Coyne Schofield’s career was instead marred by disparaging and belittling remarks towards her and women’s hockey.
For an aspiring sport broadcaster, and the hundreds of thousands of viewers who watched tonight’s game, it was truly disappointing to witness. If an Olympic gold medalist can be treated like this, what does that mean for the rest of us? Something has to change.
Kudos to Kendall Coyne Schofield. I hope that tonight’s disaster won’t prevent NBC or other broadcast networks from giving her another shot between the benches. The Pittsburgh Penguins might have walked away with two points, but her ability to keep her composure, and still provide viewers with great commentary while dealing with all of that, makes her the real winner tonight.
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