I watched Let Them Wear Towels. This is the third film in a new series from ESPN films. Called Nine for IX (as in Title IX), the series includes films about women made by women.
Let Them Wear Towels looks at the history of woman's sports writers struggling to gain access to the man's world of the locker room. The story is told through interviews with a number of the women pioneer sport writers, including Melissa Ludtke, Claire Smith, Lesley Visser and Jane Gross. It includes a wide range of stories of raw behavior, humorous retaliation, angry lawsuits and remarkable resolve.
Time Inc., filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB) after Melissa Ludtke was prohibited by MLB’s Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, from interviewing players in the locker room during the 1977 World Series. In 1978, U.S. Federal Judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that male and female reporters should have equal access to the locker room. In spite of this ruling, the struggles continued.
In the 1984 National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres, Claire Smith was physically removed by players from the Padres clubhouse after Game One. The experience left Smith with emotional scars.
In 1990, the Boston Herald’s Lisa Olson sued the New England Patriots for harassment after players made vulgar comments toward her inside the locker room. The team was fined, but the Herald moved Olson to Australia after she received death threats.
This is a solid film. Frankly, it is hard for me to identify with some of the emotions around the subject. Really, what's the big deal?
Let Them Wear Towels is available on iTunes.