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The Cleveland Browns, according to reports, are hiring Philadelphia Eagles Vice President of Football Operations, Catherine Raiche, to their staff.
Her role is expected to be similar to the man departing that same role, newly named Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, with the addition of assistant general manager responsibilities. Also similar to Adofo-Mensah, she interviewed for the Minnesota general manager job.
After working years in the Canadian Football League as well as a year in the XFL, one would think that prospect of seeing the continuation of her ascension in the corporate ladder of the NFL’s front offices would excite many. The possibility of a woman becoming a general manager in the United States’ most popular sport was inching closer: not only breaking boundaries, but inspiring women, both athletes and executives everywhere to pursue this dream.
“She’s hot”…”woke nonsense”…”sweet PR move”…”I just bet that she can’t be one of the best 32 VP of Football Operations in the league.”
These are just some reactions to the news of the hire by Cleveland, along with jokes about the accusations against quarterback Deshaun Watson. This also comes two years after the team hired Callie Brownson whose filled many roles for the team. This was another move that was met with disparaging comments and about her looks.
If this was just a Cleveland thing, then you could brush it off. However, people like Kansas City Chiefs offensive assistant Katie Sowers, Washington Commanders assistant running backs coach Jennifer King, even former San Antonio Spurs coach Becky Hammon and New York Yankees minor league manager Rachel Balkovec were subjugated to rude and even sexist comments.
While it can be expected, it also shouldn’t have a place in modern sports culture.
It’s the year 2022, and while many are willing to celebrate the evolution of women’s roles in sports, there are still many who seemingly don’t think they should be involved at the major league level. Despite Kim Ng having become the first female general manager in the big four leagues in American sports for the Miami Marlins, this mindset still exists.
We’re on the verge of seeing the first full time female NBA coach, we should be at least three years away from seeing the first female NFL head coach and soon enough, we’ll be talking about the first female MLB coaches. The mindset of women shouldn’t coach men’s sports shouldn’t be applicable anymore. Neither should be the questioning of their qualifications.
It’s time for sports fans to evolve along with the sports they love. Diehard, casual or somewhere in between, it’s time to stop impeding and ridiculing progress. It may sound woke, but it’s actually the truth.
To quote the legendary songwriter Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a-changing.” Whether for the better or worse, whether you agree with it or not, change is on the way and just about here.