June 22, 2005, - 9:07 pm

When WNBA Players Attack: WNBA’er Article Vs. Me in Arizona Republic

By Debbie Schlussel
The she-males in the WNBA sideshow just can’t take it. First, I received a “creative” F-U e-mail from Phoenix Mercury Assistant Head Coach (Lute Olson’s Granddaughter) Julie Brase. Now, it is Mercury player Kayte Christensen, who is so bothered by my anti-WNBA column, she’s written an anti-Debbie-Schlussel-anti-WNBA column in the Arizona Republic.
But apparently Christensen needs to go back to school to learn how to read. She claims that I take “credit away from a female trying to succeed in a man’s world.” I do? Where? In my anti-WNBA column, I give credit for Danica Patrick for doing exactly that. How many WNBA players play against men? Well, that may be a trick question, because there actually may be a lot of male WNBA players–based on appearance, anyway. But I refer to real men in my column and point out that the WNBA players do NOT compete against men, but whine for not getting equal pay, respect, attention, ratings, ticket sales, endorsements, yadda, yadda, yadda. If they wanted to succeed “in a man’s world,” WNBA players would try-out for the NBA and not have their own league.
Christensen also defends her teammate Anna DeForge, who had a lesbian relationship with her coach in exchange for more playing time, as a great role model for America’s kids. Sleeping with the boss to get ahead–great role model, Kayte. Puh-leeze.
Christensen is mad that women in sports are judged by looks when men are judged only on performance. That’s not really true–a female sports columnist wrote about her lust for LA Dodger Shawn Green’s “jewels” in the locker room, and Major League Baseball player Gabe Kapler was regularly praised for his muscular physique, more often than his baseball swing. But even when it is true, get a clue. As I, again, wrote in my column, sports is showbiz. Looks count. In men’s sports, men want to be them, and women want to date (euphemism) them. In women’s sports, unless you look like Anna Kournikova or Danica Patrick, there won’t be that dynamic–unless you count the lesbian audience, and you can’t build a sports league on that minute customer base. Sorry, Kayte.
Finally, Christensen claims that David Stern and the NBA are still supporting the WNBA after 8 money-hemorrhaging seasons because they want the league “to succeed in all realms, not just financially.” As in any business, there is only one measure of success in sports–the bottom line. If they want to be equal to the men, why do they demand a different yardstick to measure them?
Christensen joins another critic of my WNBA column, my cousin and aspiring teen columnist, Mallory Greitzer, who also critiqued the column in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Mallory’s was far better than Kayte’s, but Kayte and Mallory, thanks for spelling my name right.

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17 Responses

“How many WNBA players play against men? Well, that may be a trick question, because there actually may be a lot of male WNBA players–based on appearance, anyway.”
Alright, that line just made me spit coffee into my keyboard. You owe me 1 keyboard.

Preston Taylor Holmes on June 23, 2005 at 8:07 am

Some people have no business commenting on certain thing.. This is a prime example.. If you don’t care for the WNBA, why have you been talking about it? That’s my question… She must be fascinated with the talk about lesbians in the game.. If not, why bring it up? If you don’t like the WNBA, shut up and talk about something else.. Like why you even bother writting anything. But you know what? Thank you for giving the WNBA some attention by trying to bring attention to yourself..

ps5pede on June 23, 2005 at 11:56 am

Debbie shoots!, she scores!
Whaddya mean Debbie has no “business” commenting “on certain thing”? As much as the pinko lefties try, this is still America with freedom of speech, isn’t it? I love Debbie’s “writting” just fine.
Now, this is why I don’t care for the WNBA. Kayte Christensen said, “Our fans attend WNBA games because they want to see a fun, exciting style of basketball in which women are being displayed in a positive light.”
I’m watching the Detroit Pistons beat the San Antonio Spurs tonight and I’m not watching to see Ben Wallace or Tim Duncan be displayed in a positive light, I’m watching to see Ben Wallace put out the Spurs lights.
Oh, yeah, Anna DeForge, great way to display the “womyn” in a positive light.
Christensen stated, “This is why NBA franchises, Commissioner David Stern, WNBA President Donna Orender and team owners are willing to lose money while giving this league a chance to succeed in all realms, not just financially.”
Uh, huh! So it’s THE MEN who are keeping this modern day Titanic afloat, huh? Why doesn’t this so called league get the patron saint Oprah, Rosie O’Donnell, Susan Sarandon, Madonna, and the other women with all their millions to fund the WNBA?
Yeah, this WNBA turkey looks like it’s on the road to success in all realms as long as you don’t count TV ratings, attendance, and well, it’s giving someone a warm feeling I guess

Jeff_W on June 23, 2005 at 8:50 pm

Look Lady
I am sick and tired of reading your stupid stories of when you continuously diss Anna Deforge. Anna is the nicest person ever and I have NEVER thought of her to be a bad role model. My definition of a bad role model would be Debbie Schlussel.When I was Mercury junior reporter in 2003, I interviewed Kayte Christensen, Lisa Harrison, and Anna Deforge. In the lockerroom after the game Anna had so many interviews and finally after a while had time for herself. But she took some time to answer as many questions as I wanted to ask her. Not only that, she joked around and made me feel less nervous. Anna is an excellent role model for anyone because she worked so hard to get back into the WNBA and now she’s one of the leading scorers for the Mercury. Just because your stuck writing stories for your shitty website don’t diss Anna because her job is more fun. I can’t wait til I am a journalist just like you so I can write stories about how STUPID you are. Oh Debbie, I have a surprise for you! For being a great role model..oh wait thats Anna sorry, I meant for being an ass hole, I decided to take some time and fix your ugly picture..don’t get me wrong, the job was really hard because I had to make it so good. Ok are you ready?!?!
I Mercurtized you! Now your picture doesn’t look scary! You look great in that Anna Jersey 🙂
Oh yeah I would like to say one thing to Anna!
Anna-Don’t listen to her! Your the greatest role model ever! I never forgot how you stopped what you were doing to take questions from a junior reporter especially with the late notice! It was a great experience Thanks!
And to Kayte because her story was awesome!
Debbie you might want to consider a Mercury game, they are soo fun! You don’t know what your missing!
Sharon Ringstaff
Former Junior Reporter
P.S. Its so insulting how you didn’t reply to the 2 emails I sent you! Man I took some time to email you!

Sharon Ringstaff on June 25, 2005 at 11:03 pm

Let me give you your first scoop…Debbie has cooties, chews gum while writing her columns, and says Brittney Spears is a bimbo.
Nice pic of the new Debbie, but you forgot the horns and should have painted a “kick me” sign on her.
I’m glad you put mean, ole Debbie in her place! You are going to be the new Molly Ivins or Cokie Roberts.

Jeff_W on June 26, 2005 at 1:40 pm

Haha I thought the Anna Deforge Jersey was enough. Plus with the look on her face you can already tell she’s the devil without the horns.
I’m just so sad Debbie hasn’t commented on my work! Just kidding.

Sharon Ringstaff on June 27, 2005 at 12:31 am

Hey Debbie Guess what!! People are writing into the AZ Republic in full support of Kayte’s article..looks like your going down!! What are you going to write next? Hey you should write a story about my Debbie Schlussel artwork! Put some rumors about me in there!! That sounds like fun doesn’t it!? You haven’t dissed a Mercury fan yet! Oh yeah and I’m still waiting for those replies…

Sharon Ringstaff on June 28, 2005 at 2:34 am

Debbie wrote:
“But I refer to real men in my column and point out that the WNBA players do NOT compete against men, but whine for not getting equal pay, respect, attention, ratings, ticket sales, endorsements, yadda, yadda, yadda. If they wanted to succeed “in a man’s world,” WNBA players would try-out for the NBA and not have their own league.”
Hey, nice job pulling that one out of your ass. I happen to be a huge WNBA fan and I don’t know of a single WNBA player who has EVER asked to be payed like the players of the NBA. Sure, they have had collective bargaining disagreements, but they just want to get FAIR pay, not equal pay. And in case you were wondering, fair pay is about 1% of what most upper tier NBA players make. And what do you think about Latrell Sprewell, who makes multi-millions yearly and has notoriously complained about the amount of his paycheck, citing that he “has a family to feed.” Now either he was “whining” like a girl, or he has thousands if illegitimate children, which I am inclined to disbelieve. In fact, I have never heard a WNBA player “whine.” About anything. Ever. And I’m positive you haven’t either because I doubt you’ve ever given them a chance.
I would also like to point out, since you so rudely did not respond to my first e-mail, that every domestic player in the WNBA went to college for at least four years and to my knowledge all of them have a college degree. Danica Patrick did not complete high school. I’m not saying that Patrick is not a good role model, but saying that WNBA players are not is just pathetic.
And just where do you get off saying that women’s basketball is “not real basketball”??? If you want to watch basketball the way it is supposed to be played, the way James Naismith intended it, well, let’s just say you aren’t going to find that in the NBA, in which most games are just 48 minute long dunk and 3-point shooting contests. How about next time you do an article bashing what is truely “pure” basketball, you do a little research. How about calling John Wooden or Morgan Wooten, who are huge fans of the women’s game and two of the most prominent figures in all of basketball and talk to them a little bit before you go off and make things up again.
I have to say, I wonder what happened to you in the showers at gym class, because I have never heard of or met a woman as sexist as you are.

Wade Richards on June 28, 2005 at 6:44 pm

Well I guess Debbie’s job is to invoke emotion in others, which it appears she did with her story .
I just want to add that I think women like Anna and Kayte are great role models for young children . Debbie I would like to see a story on how much the little girls in AZ idolize the Phoenix Mercury and how awesome it is that they we are fortunate enough to have an WNBA basketball team to watch.
I see more fans at the Mercury games than I do at the soon to be defunct Coyote NHL Hockey games.
I can’t imagine WNBA players would “hold out” as the Hockey players have done, for money. Has anyone reminded the NHL players that they are not the NBA or NFL where fans would be in an uproar if they cancelled NFL games?
I have a 9 yr old daughter who I take regularly to the Mercury games. She has Anna DeForge and Diana Taurasi pixs in her bedroom along with Hillary Duff, Britney Spears etc. I would prefer she take the Britney and Hillary pixs down:)
My daughter can’t wait for the Mercury home games, and I must admit my boyfriend and I are huge fans as well. And anyone from my office that I take to the games for the first time, instantly become huge fans.
I know growing up in WI, I was fortuanate enough to have women athletes as my idols/role models and because of that, I was able to excel and focus on athletics in high school and college. That focus kept me from getting pregnant early and from staying away from some of the influences my peers were attracted to. It also gave me an unwavering self confidence that has carried me through the ups and downs of life.
In addition, my athletic experiences have given me the “Teamwork ” skills, and competitive edge and focus to run a successful business today.
I would not be where I am today professionally if it weren’t for the women “sports” role models I had growing up.
I would challenge any writer in AZ to do a story on the positive influences of women athletes for little girls in our society, and most importantly here in Phoenix.
I think the fan base for Mercury games is growing , but I still think the media are more concerned with writing about any negatives of the WNBA instead of promoting the team. Mercury games in my opinion are far more exciting than Diamondback games( yawn) or even Suns games.
I love the Suns but enjoy more the team style play that the WNBA players exhibit.
And who gives a ( sh t) about the personal lives ( past or present ) of WNBA players. Do you know how many NBA players are unfaithful to their wives/girlfriends? Does anybody care other than the “jilted” lover?
And anyone who has been with a women, knows that when women hook up, it isn’t about the sex or for additonal “playing time”. It is about things more on an emotional level that a women can’t get from a man. Come on Debbie you have had those thoughts before, admit it:)
My little girl is so fortunate to have Phoenix Mercury players to look up to and because of that, she is focused on becoming an athlete and also is motivated to play basektball regulary.
I am hoping that focus will deter her from focusing solely on her body image ( have you seen how many 16 year old little girls in AZ have breast implants?) and to feel good about herself due to having healthy competitive ahtletic events to compete in, and by having role models like the Mercury to give her that motivation.
Debbie, we are hoping your next story will be on the positive role models the Mercury are for little girls in Phoenix. That is our challenge to you .

Campbell43 on July 10, 2005 at 12:06 am

I just spent some time here at work reading over your rather amusing articles on the wNBA and I really felt the need to write to you about some of the things you said.
I will start out by telling you that I am a red meat-eating, Christian, conservative, gun owning, full-blooded American and generally agree wholeheartedly with everything you write and say. I also have great hatred for the wNBA, but for reasons other than your own which I hope will become clear in this, probably too long, letter.
My main gripe is your hatred aimed towards women?s basketball in general and some of the players specifically. For one thing, I hold the very strong belief that women are the only people who actually play basketball today. The men (especially in the NBA) play this bizarre game of casually walking down the court, tossing it to the guy with the biggest pituitary disorder who proceeds to ?stuff? it, then repeat. Gone are plays, gone is defense and gone is any sense of teamwork. The modern men?s basketball team is a collection of individuals only concerned with themselves and their shoe contracts and whether or not they?ll end up on this evening?s ESPN highlight reel. The game that Dr. James Naismith created dies whenever men walk onto the court. All of this was painfully evident with our recent embarrassment at the Summer Olympics when our team could barely compete with players from countries they never heard of, but who still play the game as it should be.
Compare this to the women?s game, where teamwork, defense, shooting the ball and a passion for the game, not themselves, is the norm. John Wooden himself was quoted as saying that the best basketball being played today is by women. I can think of few greater people to trust and listen to about the game than him. Also, when K.C. Jones coached a women?s team for the ABL, one of the things he said he loved was that he could actually ?coach? the women, they would listen to him. It wasn?t just a collection of huge egos that listens to no one else because they got money and endorsements and that?s all they care about. And I?m sorry, but the slam dunk is the worst thing to happen to the game. How hard is it for some 7-foot-tall guy to stuff it in the basket? Is anything quite as boring nowadays as the ?Slam Dunk Contest? during the NBA All-Star Game? If they had any respect for the game, they?d raise the baskets and make it a challenge again. Oh, and no, the baskets are not lowered for the women and the greatest blindfolded slam dunk I ever saw was by Stacy Lovelace?a woman. And there have yet to be women players choking coaches, beating up cameramen or leaping into the stands to attack fans. No, they always come out after the games to meet the fans, sign autographs, pose for pictures with them and talk to the people?and don?t even charge them a nominal fee to do so.
The women have a love and a passion for the game that the men just don?t anymore. The men think they deserve respect just by showing up, the women know they need to earn it and do. Kobe Bryant stubs a toe and is out for a month. I?ve seen women with sprained ankles, back spasms and broken fingers run right back onto the court, even finish a game after they tear their ACL because their teammates depend on them and they love it so. That is why they are great role models. Because they play for the right reasons, because they are looked down as second class citizens and are belittled by the women who should be supporting them and the men who feel threatened by them and keep playing. Ever here of ?follow your dreams?? Well they do and what better message can we have for our children?
I know of which I speak, by first hand knowledge. I was an employee of the American Basketball League. This was the women?s basketball league that the wNBA was created to destroy. The Olympic Women?s team went to the NBA to ask them about creating a women?s league?and they laughed at them. They told them they had no plans for one and there was no money in it (which has been proven, from their point of view). The ABL was created in the mid 90?s by three folks, two men and one woman (a happily married woman?to a man?with many kids.). They main thing they had in common was they each had daughters who played basketball. They were offended (as were many of us) that after college they had to go overseas to continue playing, quite often in less than desirable situations, or simply give up on their dream just because they were girls. After we announced our creation and the 8 cities we would play in, we instantly started selling thousands of season ticket packages. Mind you, this was without a schedule, a roster (just two players announced per team at first, most of which were members of the Olympic team), and not even a team name. When the NBA saw this, they decided there was money in it. They decided it would fit in well during the summer, between the circuses and tractor pulls (you know, when the boys were finished using the gym), quickly threw something together with Val Ackerman as a figurehead and announced it in a press conference?third on the agenda of a press conference held to announce the sale of the 76ers?all the while explaining how it was a good ?business decision? and ?money maker,? not once mentioning the players. Compare this to the ABL press conference, attended by all but one of the Olympic team, and stressing the players and about giving them a chance to stay home and play in front of loved ones. Also, our lowest paid bench warmers made more than all but three of their players.
Unfortunately, the day after the NBA made their announcement, almost all of our major supporters (like ESPN and Nike) pulled out, not wanting to upset the boys. They also did a real efficient job of blacklisting us in almost all forms of media. We were smart enough to know we wouldn?t be able to fill Madison Square Garden right off. We were in cities that had strong support of women?s basketball (like San Jose, CA and Hartford, CT) in mid-sized arenas that we had no trouble filling (except in Columbus, ironically enough, the home of our best team). We even started to graduate up to full size arenas in San Jose and Seattle which would sell out, as well as Hartford regularly having over 15,000 people per game. Hardly a sport no one wanted to watch. Unfortunately, the 1,000 pound gorilla of the NBA finally took its toll on us and even though we had the better players and the superior game, Goliath does still occasionally win.
I seriously apologize if I?m boring you with my little history lesson here, but I wanted you to know where I?m coming from and my reasons for despising the wNBA. There are many other things I could tell you about, but I?m already taking to long to get to my point?sorry.
I don?t know if you?ve ever witnessed a basketball game between women and men, but I have?often. Men from Stanford and San Jose State?and the women wiped the floor with them. It was funny to see a guy go in, acting all cocky, telling his mates this will be easy, then fall back onto the bench 5 minutes later, sweat pouring off of him with a look of astonishment in his eyes, wondering what happened and having an entirely new appreciation in his mind. I can?t imagine that you?ve seen Diana Tarausi play, or watched Debbie Black (who has accomplished a quadruple double?how many men have done that recently?) work on defense and think that women can?t play basketball. Have you noticed that during the College Final Four weekend, they no longer include women in the ?Three-Point Shootout?? I wonder if that could be because some random college girl would consistently beat the men. Pretty amazing for a sex that can?t shoot. You also have college teams like Stanford, Uconn and Tennessee among many others where the women regularly outsell the men.
It seems that you hold up Anna Kournikova as the epitome of the female athlete. Let?s she, she?s gorgeous, has lots of blond hair, long sexy legs, and is almost completely in-effectual as an athlete. Yeah, that?s the image we want our girls to live up to. ?It doesn?t matter if you can actually do anything, as long as you?re pretty!!? And I hope you have noticed that no basketball players have shown up in Playboy, but your new favorite Danika Patrick had herself a soft-core shoot for FHM recently. Odd that that didn?t bother you. Or that members of those family-friendly sports like ice skating (Katarina Witt), volleyball (Gabrielle Reece) and the Olympics (Amy Acuff among a host of others) have all appeared fully nude in Playboy and yet basketball players get singled out because they ?might? appear in it.
Oh, and in regards to you thinking that all female basketball players are big, freakish, unattractive women, I assume you have never taken a look at folks like Jennifer Azzi (who had a nationwide TV commercial for Prell shampoo?odd for an ?ugly? girl), Sue Bird, Svetlana Abrosimova, Lindsay Whalen, Lisa Harrison, Brooke Wyckoff, Swin Cash, Edna Campbell, Kate Starbird, Christy Hedgpeth, Stacey Dales-Schumann, Becky Hammon, Shyra Ely, Nikki McCray, Jennifer Rizzotti, Kelly Mazzante, Ruth Riley, Penny Taylor, Kendra Wecker and Lauren Jackson, who was recently included in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which must be okay since Miss Kournikova also was. All of these women are beautiful. Beautiful faces, beautiful bodies, but as you sometimes seem to point out (when it suits a rant), that?s not really important anyway, is it?
This brings me to what upset me the most about your various articles, the constant insults aimed at Margo Dydek. I know Margo. She was almost even part of my wedding. You will never find a sweeter, gentler or kinder woman in your travels. Exactly how is it her fault that she?s 7?2?? Or at least how is that worthy of your constant criticism? Maybe if you knew her as a young girl in Poland, running home from school in tears because of all the taunts she had from her schoolmates, not wanting to leave her room because of the verbal abuse she would receive once out of the house, never able to go shopping with friends and having to have her mother make all her clothes. Fortunately, she found away to put her unusual situation to good use and became a great success. I am constantly amazed she turned out as great as she did, that she didn?t turn into a hate filled and spiteful woman, but she didn?t. And she deserves better than insulting comments like the ones you throw out all the time to her for something that isn?t her fault.
Look, I have as much hate towards the wNBA as anyone on Earth because of what they?ve done to this sport I love. The worst thing they?ve done is try to make it like the men?s game, trying to make it an individual sport instead of a team one. Telling the women they?re not good enough for a real season, just a sideshow. And when they fail, which they will do (I?m honestly surprised they?ve lasted as long as they have), they will then say that a pro league can never happen here. Yes it can, and it did and the ABL would still be here if they had left us alone and let us do our job. However, this in no way takes away from my love of women?s basketball and I will support it and the players all the days of my life. If you were to ever meet them as individuals, and not the way the wNBA tries to force them upon you, I would think you would feel the same way, too.

KilgoreTrout on July 13, 2005 at 6:17 pm

Dear Debbie,
Someone could disappear for years and return to see that not only have the things they learned at a young age become obsolete, but people, EXCUSE ME… um WOMEN.. are using or, rather, ABUSING their “supposedly” researched and , hm… should I refer to yours as “educated” opinion.. to openly behave as they did in 6th grade when the “tomboy” got the hot guy that the “supposed” popular girl wanted… I bet, in the end, it sucks knowing that that “tomboy”.. ended up dumping that hot guy that STILL did not want you..
However you grew up well, researched, and fairly bitter, after the decade of sex and the city shows, it is so very refreshing to know that the antics of a “not so attractive.. COULD be she male”.. were you not wearing lipstick and covering what look to be saggy breasts… is utilizing the opportunity to reach millions to DEGRADE and INSULT, an industry of athletes, who, REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION.. probably still make more than you.. and .. well could still have that hot guy.. even if they would rather have the hot girl.. who.. is probably your sister.
I expect that the tables being turned on you, and receiving insults to your rather bland, OLD , REHEARSED.. BITTER STRAIGHT WOMAN pseudo lesbian hater.. and DEFINATELY not an ATHLETE herself.. well, as I guess your a writer, not an ACCOMPLISHED PAID ATHLETE.. is pretty second nature.
I would take the time to edit all my twenty run on sentences… but in all honesty, I look forward to your petty , small, REHEARSED…hm… antics.. toward a STRAIGHT woman, who is just SICK of ANYONE’S sexuality being an issue.
the “notorious” B
*known and established due to hate of others like yourself*

rossi on February 11, 2007 at 12:01 am

you’re a fucking idiot.

tetraaa on February 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm

All I have to say is that I live in Sacramento and have the privilege of watching Kayte Christensen do a pregame and a postgame shows for the Kings and what I think is SO awesome about this woman is not only does she know this game of basketball inside and out but MAN, that woman is “Bleepin” HOT!!! MAN-O-MAN SHE’S A BABE!!!
p.s. Debbie Schlussel, don’t worry, your quite a looker too! BUT NOT AS HOT AS KAYTE, SO DON’T GET HAPPY, BUAAA-HAAA!!!

Mark Ryan on April 2, 2008 at 1:42 am

who cares wnba ? i love beach volley women ,, i hate wnba

jam on March 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Dear, your “musings” are entirely absurd, at best filled with unsteady logic, at worst a bucket of gynophobic bullshit.

How dreadful that the Internet allows for such disturbances.

Dr. Vivian Bell on July 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm

You’re a fucking cunt. The fact anyone cares for your opinion is quite astounding.

Chris on September 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm

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