June 1, 2005, - 9:24 pm

Lesbian Basketball, Season 9 vs. the Indy Chick

By Debbie Schlussel
What’s the difference between the WNBA and Danica Patrick?
For one thing, she looks like a woman, and they don’t.
Then there’s Title IX–affirmative action for useless women’s sports no-one cares about, like water polo and crew (a/k/a “You Gotta Regatta Lesbiatta”).
WNBA players had Title IX to succeed, but are in season nine of extreme failure. Danica Patrick–the rookiette race-car driver who came in forth at Sunday’s Indy 500–didn’t have Title IX. They don’t have it in racing. The IRL only has that amazing non-governmental program, called, “The Free Market.” And unlike the WNBA, Patrick competes against the men on their own turf. And succeeds.
That’s the lesson of the last week in sports: Feminism is phony. Sports are showbiz. Good-looking women get endorsements. Women who look and act like men don’t. Women who succeed against men on their own turf get respect. Women who constantly whine about equality–yet need their own, separate, unequal league to succeed–don’t get respect.

Take a look at the raven-haired, petite Patrick with her long tresses. Then, look at the 7’2″ Margo Dydek of Connecticut’s WNBA team – if you dare. Which one would guys rather date? Which one would most young girls rather be like when they grow up?
Hint: They aren’t making a scale version of Dydek Barbie anytime soon. Dyslexic young girls might unscramble the letters of her surname and get the right idea of what the WNBA is really about.
That’s the image from which the WNBA is desperately trying to get away. But it’s stuck with it like white on rice (apologies to low-carbers).
When the “season” started over a week ago, the “league’s” website featured a story about WNBA players’ prom memories. But despite trying to push hetero-friendly experiences, like prom, an article featuring WNBA-er Anna DeForge was right below it.
Significance? DeForge’s lesbian relationship with her then-WNBA Coach, Nancy Lieberman was profiled in a controversial 2001 Sports Illustrated article. Makes you forget all about the carefully selected WNBA prom “queens,” doesn’t it? Or wonder about the gender identity of their dates.
Coach Lieberman was apparently “coaching” DeForge as much off the court as on, leading other players on the team to complain about her extraordinary amount of playing time. The WNBA website stresses (twice) that DeForge “loves kids.” It doesn’t tell you that if she ever has any, they’ll likely be conceived in-vitro.
Then there’s that little incident when WNBA player Latasha Byears was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting her L.A. Sparks teammate. No charges were filed, but last November, Byears sued Sparks operator/Lakers owner Jerry Buss, claiming her quick dismissal demonstrates “bias against lesbians” by Buss.
It’s more than enough to scare off the young girls and families the WNBA desperately wants as fans. But, after eight seasons, still can’t get.
This season, the Detroit Shock, then-team for Lieberman and DeForge, has the slogan, “The Detroit Shock. It’s personal.” The WNBA runs promo ads, saying “The WNBA. You’ll fall in love for the first time. Or fall in love all over again.” Given the context of the Lieberman-DeForge-Byears antics and relationships rife throughout this “sports league,” these are hardly endearing to moms and dads thinking about taking little Susie to a WNBA game. Not to mention, the population of the sparsely-attended WNBA games. Looking for straight people is like playing “Where’s Waldo?” Osama bin Laden has more camels.
In 2002, Bill Clinton attended a New York Liberty game (dragged by Hilary and Chelsea). He hasn’t been back since. Wonder why? No Hawaiian Tropic bikini contestants–or even Monicas–within a three-mile radius.
Danica Patrick, on the other hand, is straight and engaged to be married . . . to a MAN.
Hmmm . . . The feminine, successful Patrick versus a league whose biggest star is nicknamed “Claw” (Chamique Holdsclaw), but is female (we’re told). Which would you want your daughter to be like? Danica Patrick or the WNBA’s Kara Braxton, the 6’6″, 22-year-old unwed mother, who was kicked off her college basketball team after several suspensions. She’s one of two to Cincinnati Bengals’ Odell Thurman, who allegedly beat her.
Well, at least Braxton can spell. Her son’s name, Aelani, is pronounced “Juh-LAH-ni.”
So desperate to make you think they’re like all the girls, this season’s WNBA runs ads featuring 6’2″ Taj McWilliams-Franklin saying, “I play to buy shoes,” as if she’s some “Sex & the City” chick yearning for Manolo Blahniks. Do they really make Manolos for men? And speaking of shoes, there’s injured player Swin Cash’s http://www.wnba.com/voices/dear_swin_1.html advice column, with questions about whether pink shoes are still in. Here’s a tip: If you wear a size 14 shoe, but you’re supposed to be a chick, pink might not be the color for you.
I’ve written–and appeared on ESPN–about the WNBA almost every season (here, , , and here). And every season, this Waste of National Broadcast Airtime–this Weird Nuisance Brought on America–gives me new material. They’ve tried Playboy centerfold contests. They’ve tried glamour shots. They’ve tried it all, to make you think they’re the Anna Kournikovas of pro hoops. But no dice.
No-one mainstream is paying attention to the WNBA. To paraphrase Confucius, if a tree falls in a forest, but no-one noticed, did it really happen? So why am I paying attention?
Because WNBA players are bad role models for young girls, the audience the league is targeting. Because real basketball (read: NBA) fans, forcibly subsidize the failing WNBA through increased ticket prices, as do NBA sponsors (strong-armed by the NBA to sponsor the infinitely inferior WNBA).
Yes, I write about the WNBA like it’s going out of style. The problem is that it hasn’t. Yet.

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26 Responses

i just read your article on the wnba vs. patrick. i think it is disgusting. if you are a woman, you’re a disgrace to our gender. beauty is defined by each person – and a woman does not have to look like a barbie doll to be beautiful. and as to anyone’s lifestyle, i guess that is none of our business – and btw, not all wnba players are lesbians. oh and another point, most wnba players are college graduates as opposed to nba players who forego going to school to join the league. i could go on and on ….

wnbafan on June 21, 2005 at 7:51 pm

Well I have to say I consider myself fairly conservative, but I think this column about the WBNA is very offensive and very shallow. Guess we all can’t look like Barbie dolls Debbie. You really should be ashamed of yourself. I consider the WNBA to be a good role model for young women. I would not consider you to be one. You epitomize what is wrong with the right.

jewells45 on June 22, 2005 at 10:28 am

This has to be one of the saddest attempts to put down the WNBA. I’ve read many articles wherein the writer isn’t a fan of the league, but in those articles the writers normally argue about the players’ athleticism- not their looks.
Ms. Schlussel, you ask who would look up to the likes of Margo Dydek and Chamique Holdsclaw? I do. I am 18 years old and it wasn’t until I was 10 yrs. old that the WNBA was introduced. As a fan of basketball all my role models were men until Holdsclaw came long. Holdsclaw’s story gave me hope.
I admire these athletes because they overcame so many adversities and are now successful. I do not care about their shoe sizes, sexual preferences or appearance. Danica Patrick may be beautiful but that is not the reason why she’s a role model.

iv3rson_fan on June 22, 2005 at 11:40 am

It is difficult for me to adequately express just how profoundly moved by your words I have been; however, I shall try.
Girls, to serve yourselves better and to ensure happiness and success in this wonderful world, please follow the advice of Ms. Schlussel:
1. Be pretty at any cost.
2. Be judgmental of others whenever possible.
3. Be pretty at any cost: it means you are a real woman.
4. Bind your feet to prevent their overgrowth.
5. Be pretty at any cost: it means you are a real woman and will be respected.
6. Do not endeavor to train your body.
7. Be pretty at any cost: it means you are a real woman, will be respected, and are worthy of becoming a role model.
8. Stereotype.
9. Be pretty at any cost: it means you are a real woman, will be respected, are worthy of becoming a role model, and are definitely not a lesbian.
10. Be narrow-minded.
Boys, here are a few things Ms. Schlussel needs you to remember:
1. The only real woman is a pretty woman.
2. If your mother/sister/girlfriend is an athlete, she is a lesbian.
3. The only real woman is a pretty woman, and only real women deserve respect.
4. The performance of a woman only matters if she is performing with men.
5. The only real woman is a pretty woman, and only real women deserve respect, but lesbians are not real women.
6. An ugly straight woman is a lesbian in disguise.
7. The only real woman is a pretty woman, and only real women deserve respect, but lesbians are not real women; therefore, do not bother respecting lesbians.
8. Do not confuse a woman who is endorsed with one who is endowed; although, finding both qualities in the same woman guarantees your happiness.
9. The only real woman is a pretty woman, and only real women deserve respect, but lesbians are not real women; therefore, do not bother respecting lesbians even if the lesbian in question is related to you.
10. Ms. Schlussel thinks she is pretty, but if I do not, does she exist?
And by the way, if Danica Patrick is even one-half the woman I think she is, she will demand you take her name out of your pathetic, sexist, homophobic diatribe.

Decent Human Being on June 23, 2005 at 5:48 pm

Excellent column Debbie, slam dunk!
What the previous commentors seem to not understand is everybody wants,…nay, Demands! special treatment. Whether it is gender, race, religion, etc.
Because these girls go to college, semi-behave themselves, and are excellent ball players we should ignore everything that is required of every other sport, concert, sit com, and film. If there is not enough interest it does not surrvive plain and simple. Then the players wineing about not getting attention makes it even worse.
If they really want to build up an interest and have people tune in to every game and fill the seats at the games I have a soultion. Have all 170 WNBA players hop on a plane to Logan Airport here in Boston. Then take a couple of buses over to Cambridge City Hall, pair up into 85 couples, and get married!
There is however one thing I wish to correct you on Debbie. It is about the quote that Rapport attributed to you.
Rapoport wrote:
“OK, who’s the bigger creep? . . . or conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel, who wrote, “Patrick looks like a woman, as opposed to the 169 players in the WNBA, who look like men.”
Debbie Wrote:
Where did I write that? It’s not in my anti-WNBA column, to which he is referring. Rapoport is so LAZY, he didn’t bother to read my column at all
…..And of course, the following is from the top of this very page
Debbie Schlussel wrote:
What’s the difference between the WNBA and Danica Patrick?
For one thing, she looks like a woman, and they don’t.
To say what Rappaport attributed to you is wrong, to me is just semantics. You did essentially say that the women in the WNBA (except for Danica) look like men. I have no problem with that statement, but just realize that there is many way to say the same things.I am a big fan of yours Debbie, but I HATE semantics.

Keith on June 24, 2005 at 12:21 pm

Hehe, I can’t believe all you guys are falling for this, a dude in drag commenting about lesbians and how awful they are. It is too funny, and you actually believe it is serious. Hehe. Good one, “Debbie”.

autonomousgerm on June 24, 2005 at 6:12 pm

Debbie, why do you even care about this? If the WNBA is so awful a product and is doing so bad financially, just ignore it like most of America does and it will die it’s own death, much like the women’s pro soccer league did.
Yes, for the most part, men are stronger than women and as as such able to achieve a higher potential in sports, but does that mean that women should only be interested in sports if they can compete fully with men a la Danica Patrick (which isn’t even a sport with a very physical component to it so I can’t see outside of pure discouragement why a woman couldn’t compete)?
Annika Sorenstem has proved that it is almost impossible for women to compete with men in the PGA tour, but I don’t see you critizing the LPGA (maybe we should call that one “Lousy and Pathetic Golfing by Amateurs”). Nor do I see you saying the same for women’s pro tennis (and please don’t tell me that Martina Navratilova or Billie Jean King weren’t “tennis versions” of the stereotypical WNBA players you so love to talk about).
Your bio seems to suggest that you are a quite an athletic and sports-minded woman, and as such I find your WNBA articles pretty surprising, or at the very least a sign of some other hidden pet peeve you are either unwilling or unable to admit. No wonder even your own cousin took you to task on this issue publicly.

hairymon on June 26, 2005 at 9:54 am

Wow Debbie writes an article about Dissing lesbians! Woo hoo! Not!!
I have written 2 articles in my whole life one on the Mercury website and one for my school newspaper. Both are so much better than this.
Does it really matter who’s lesbian and who’s not? The only thing that counts is the player’s determination to succeed in the coolest league ever (of course the WNBA) and then there’s whether they are a role model. ANNA FITS BOTH OF THOSE! Anna is one of the nicest players on the Mercury squad and when you bash her you bash me too. I am not going to put up with your trashy articles I am going to continue to comment your shitty site til you learn to back off Anna and start worrying about yourself. Your not a great person and you aren’t even close! Oh and Debbie I read the article that you tried to claim as proof about Anna, and most of that shit was rumors. Man for a journalist you really write a lot of libelous stuff. I’m surprised Anna hasn’t sued your ass yet. Oh wait it’s not worth it! Like I said in my comment on your newest story, I can’t wait til I’m officially a journalist and I can write libelous stories about you! 5 more years Debbie 🙂

Sharon Ringstaff on June 27, 2005 at 12:09 am

I found your article disgusting and distasteful.
Ms. Schlussel, as an obviously successful and independent woman, shouldn’t you be “pro women” in sports?. And I don’t recall reading any of your biographies about being married or having children….so what is up with your “sexuality”?
And what is up with the Blonde/Bimbo image? Do you consider your image a good image for our daughters to look up to?
I read with interest as I scanned some of your previous work ( as I had never heard of you before this article) that many refer to you as some kind of sex symbol in your trade. I am sure that makes you proud of our gender and of yourself.
I am a heterosexual women with two beautiful daughters, and I certainly hope they grow up to emulate the positive role models of the WNBA , not beat writers like yourself who for some reason take pride in working in a profession that can destory others with your “Rush Limbaugh” belief systems and “skewed ” sense of perception.
But when one is losing popularity in one’s career and is no longer the “in” thing, it is sometimes better to have “bad publicity” than no publicity. We all know that trick.. …..

Campbell43 on July 10, 2005 at 2:01 am

Debbie I find it funny that YOU are writing a report on the way WNBA players look. First off, you aren’t the prettiest person in the world if you haven’t figured that out yet. 2nd, you spend so much time bashing the WNBA and claiming they are all lebians, yet that is all you can talk about which gets me thinking that you may be interested in them. Third, it is funny how you are dissing on Chamique Holdsclaw who is one of the nicest, most charasmatic, and a real success story, yet you only go to notice that few people call her ‘Claw. I also find it funny how you mention that all of the WNBA players are ugly. In your spare time, look up Sue Bird, Becky Hammon, Tamika Williams, Lisa Harrison, Lauren Jackson and countless other players who are all gorgeous. The one thing you’ve forgotten Debbie is that beauty isn’t all about appearance, it is about the type of person you are, and I feel bad for you because you can’t seem to recognize that. You are one of the most chauvinistic individual I’ve ever met(and you are a woman for crying out loud!)

debbie-s-sucks on July 11, 2005 at 9:56 pm

Debbie, I’d have to disagree with your essay-type article. First of all, I think the whole structure of the essay is all bologna. Thesis, support your thesis, conclusion…all bologna, much like not-so-Decent Human Being keith’s opinion on this article. I know it’s just my advice and opinion but, I say you stay away from the essay format(unless of course you wrote this article for publicity or to stir controversy). I believe you should be allowed to state “I think” in front of your statements and still dub the article as “professional”.
Your first sentence leads me to believe your saying that every single woman in the WNBA is ugly, which would mean, of course, that not even ONE woman is not ugly. You’re probably a smart person, so I know you’ll see the irony when I say that Kayte Christensen is a beautiful woman–physically(and probably beautiful on the inside as well). Kayte didn’t even have to reply to your article; she could’ve just sent you a headshot(or full-body shot if you want to get technical). Hey don’t get me wrong, you’re beautiful on the outside as well.
When you used the term “ugly” in your article, it was to describe the outer appearance of the WNBA players. That point of your article made it seem like you didn’t exactly “do your homework” on the WNBA. You may have had an arguable point 8 years ago, but certainly not now. The amount of attractive WNBA players has multiplied since the WNBA’s inaugural season. For me, the most unattractive characteristic of a WNBA player would be the “ghetto” accent.
Hey Debbie, big feet doesn’t make a woman ugly. Bunions, corns, callouses, and hammertoes are what would make feet ugly, not the size. And that wouldn’t even make a woman ugly, just her feet. That’s kind of like the school rule where one bad student could give the whole class detention. That’s just not right.
Another thing that bothered me in your article was the fact that you compared two different sports. For me, there’s no argument there because the WNBA and NASCAR are uncomparable(remember, just my opinion). Debating over who was the more dominant NBA player between Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan might sound easily comparable, but indeed it’s not. Jordan and Shaq dominated basketball in different ways because of the positions they played in the NBA.
When it comes to lesbians(the more feminine), guys are basically separated into two groups. Based on my experiences in life, the “old school” guys don’t like lesbians mainly because they don’t like guys and that just rarely happened back in the “olden” days. The guys of the present and future love lesbianism as you can tell by the increasing popularity of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos and increasing occurrences of lesbianism in blockbuster movies and TV(i.e. the L Word). I also believe that society as a whole are separated into two similar groups. The majority of the people who don’t accept lesbians are of the older generations. Being a part of the newer generation of people, sexual orientation isn’t that big a deal. A woman being a lesbian doesn’t make her ugly. That’s just plain ignorance ain’t it? I’m led to think that you’d accept Osama Bin Laden or Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi over an ugly woman! I don’t know if Anna DeForge is a lesbian or not, but I think she looks like an average Caucasian woman to me.
Anyway, I hope you could become more open-minded and think more “lady-like” when it comes to some of the points you’ve previously made in the article.

theknieghtrieduz on July 17, 2005 at 8:31 am

Well, nice one Debbie, for starters, letting our young women know that they are welcome in athletics and will be recognized as competent in their sport if they are model-esk in stature. There aren’t nearly enough of those comments from the media in this country. Lord knows we need soooo much more of that to properly bring up the future female athletes, female politicians, and, of course, female columnists. No make-up, no jobby ladies.
As the mom of a very fine young Sr. varsity female athlete, who achieves straight A’s, who plays the b-ball, who plays the v-ball, and who is a community volunteer at the junior level of these sports, I find your comments not only offensive but dangerous to both sport and the morale of the young women who participate in them both at a professional and amateur level.
Perhaps your time would be better spent scraping off the 100 pounds plus of make-up, ditching the spike heels, and giving the ol’ push-up bra some well-deserved time off and heading down to your local park to shoot a few with some of the young women you are endeavoring to enlighten. Perhaps, sans make-up, they may even let you play. Here’s betting you are the one enlightened.
S. Keiser

concerned mother on July 24, 2005 at 10:22 pm

Well, first let me say, it took me this long to get my blood pressure down, to acually reply to this so called article. And, because of the kind of person Debbie is, I will not evern get into what I REALLY think of the article. I will let Danica’s pictures speak for themselves!!
And I’m still not sure why I am responding, other than the fact I found some really great pictures of Debbie’s wonderful role model of a woman, Danica Patrick. Attached are 2 links. One for the “wonderful” picures of Danick, and the other, an article that everyone, including you Debbie, needs to read. It is from a writer who actually went to a WNBA game and did a 180. I have much more respect for someone like, David Kiley. He said he had a lot of preconceived ideas, but after having actually having seen a game, wrote about it. Instead of making it up as you go, like Debbie.
Anyway, I hope everyone will look at these links and judge for themselves and their young children, who is a better role model.

KyTeL on August 18, 2005 at 3:41 pm

HEH, Best article EVER!

Dairenn on December 28, 2005 at 1:46 am

You’ve really hit a goldmine of politically correct hordes, Debbie. I think your stuff about the WNBA and fat girls is hilarious, but it’s even funnier to watch the reactions from these people. Keep the blogs coming.

KnightoftheImpaler on January 13, 2006 at 8:59 pm

Well, almost a year later, Danica Patrick has yet to win a race, which leads the experts to say that if she doesn’t win soon, she’ll just be another Anna Kournikova. But wait…in your oh-so-credible blog, you said: “And unlike the WNBA, Patrick competes against the men on their own turf. And succeeds.” Well, I say again: she has YET to win a race. So, what’s your definition of “success”?
And about Kournikova, you claim the WNBA wants us to think their players are “the Anna Kournikovas of pro hoops.” Actually, that’s the furthest thing from the truth, because the key difference been Kournikova and the WNBA is that there are actually WINNERS in the WNBA.
You were good to notice Kara Braxton, being “baby-momma” to a guy who beat her. That means they had a heterosexual relationship of some sort, right? You also mentioned Swin Cash’s advice column, which contains a picture that clearly confirms what everyone (except you) knows about her: she is a BEAUTIFUL woman, and not nearly as mannish as you would like us to think. It might be best for you to only include facts that HELP your argument…though I must admit that few such facts exist.
I can’t help noticing that most (or all) of the people who agreed with your blog were men. That said: your strong, chauvinistic desire for women to look effeminate and attractive calls YOUR sexual preference into question. You’d better watch it.

Zoot on April 6, 2006 at 1:42 pm

Its so sad that you can judge a person by their looks, I call that shallow. Not all women are so lucky to look like a barbie doll that happens to be fake and plastic. The wnba has real people playing, beautiful in their own way ,remember beauty comes from the inside and out.So many beautiful women on the WNBA and talented . Shame on you for being so judgemental and mean hearted.

Luckyjaja on March 9, 2007 at 3:35 pm

A truly ugly, malicious, and bigoted rant.

dhines611 on September 18, 2007 at 1:54 am

typical disgusting bottom feeding racist piece of garbage.

nat on March 20, 2012 at 12:50 am

Seven years later, I gotta say this is one of your worst posts. Margo Dydek was not a lesbian. She was married to David Twigg for 3 years and she died last year while giving birth to her third child. That’s awful and tragic! I’m not a fan of the WNBA though.

Matthew on June 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Well, the article is rude, but true. We can all sit here and pretend that looks don’t matter. The fact is, however, that they do. Most of the players in the WNBA are lesbians. This is a fact. There isn’t anything wrong with this, but it is a fact.

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