This is a funny one. A really funny one. And illustrative.
On National Public Radio’s (NPR) morning fake news program — called “Morning Edition” — this morning, they had a story on one of their top reporterette’s interview of retired tennis great John McEnroe. In the interview, of which the topic was: all-time sports greats, McEnroe said of Serena Williams, “She’s the best female tennis player in the world.”
The reporterette didn’t like that one bit. “Why,” she interrupted, “use the qualifier ‘female?’ Some would say she’s the best player in the world.”
McEnroe’s tart reply was priceless. First, to set the stage, the reporterette is NPR’s uber-ditz, Lulu Garcia-Navarro. She’s interviewing McEnroe and since the topic is the greatest athletes of all time, the subject turns, naturally, to tennis. Here’s the exchange:
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We’re talking about male players, but there [are] of course wonderful female players. Let’s talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.
MCENROE: Best female player ever — no question.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Some wouldn’t qualify it; some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?
MCENROE: Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?
MCENROE: Well, because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be, like, 700 in the world.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You think so?
MCENROE: Yeah. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it’d be a little higher, perhaps it’d be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she’s so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke ’cause she’s been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, the US Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.
Look, there’s a simple truth: There’s not a woman in the world who could play, and make a living — or even a positive contribution! — in the mens’s professional versions of the following sports: Tennis, golf, baseball, football, basketball or soccer. Nor could any one woman in the world be even close to competitive in track and field, swimming or gymnastics.
Don’t get me wrong: I love women’s sports. Properly done, sports are great and wonderful things, and there’s no reason under the sun that women should be excluded from them.
To the contrary, women and men equally should be encouraged wholeheartedly to engage in all manner of sporting activity, and to be as competitive as they wish to be, and to take it to as high a level as their drive and ability allow. Then, when they achieve great things in their endeavors, the applause and cheers should be as full-throated and enthusiastic as can be. Pure and simple.
But… no one should pretend that women can compete with the guys. Also pure and simple.
For example, in this article here, we learn that Serena Williams has played against another guy before — and that she lost an exhibition match against the #203-ranked man in the world.
As some of you know, I’ve been a professional athlete… in two sports. I’ve played a dozen more seriously. I know sports. I know sports really well.
I read an interview with Chris Evert one day, back when she was the #1-ranked female tennis player in the world. In this interview, Mrs. Evert-Lloyd, as she was known then, admitted candidly that to stay on top of her game she played against her then husband, John Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was then ranked lower than #100 in the world for the men… while Mrs. Lloyd was #1.
Evert-Lloyd admitted that (1) she never beat her husband, and (2) she rarely even scored a point against him. At some point in the interview, she said that after playing her husband, the women were just a whole heckuva lot easier. I’m paraphrasing quite a bit, but that’s the gist of the story.
Rebecca Lobo, one of the University of Connecticut’s finest women basketball stars ever, and a standout on the 1995 UConn NCAA national championship team, said that to stay sharp she used to play against her brother who was never better than a decent college player. Lobo went on after UConn to have a standout professional career. Her brother, Jason, became a lawyer (and my friend).
Annika Sorenstam, arguably the greatest women’s golfer ever, admitted that she wasn’t even close to good enough to play on the men’s tour. And she had actually played in a men’s tournament. She didn’t make the cut. Same story with Michelle Wie who was invited to play in a men’s tournament. She didn’t make the cut. Annika went on later to say that there were no women at all with the ability to play on the men’s tour.
What’s funny is the apparent inability of all commentators to admit these obvious truths. Truths that the occasional woman, and now the refreshingly candid John McEnroe will admit, if all too rarely, when asked seriously.
Men and women run the same marathon tracks, and there is a champion for the men, and a champion for the women. Rarely, if ever, do you hear what actual place the women’s champion came in overall… because it’s generally about four miles or so behind the men’s champ.
Again, nothing whatsoever against women’s sports, but they are not in the same league as men. One could say they’re in a league of their own.
Why? Well, because there is active discrimination in professional sports. By the women’s sports teams and leagues against men. While any woman who could make the grade can play on any men’s team, or in any men’s professional league, no men are allowed to compete in any women’s leagues.
In fact there’s no prohibition whatsoever against women participating in men’s pro sports. While we hear all the time about this woman or that maybe being the one to crack the barrier against women participating in this or that men’s sport. That’s because, other than actual ability, there simply is no barrier against women’s participation at the highest levels of men’s sports.
If, for example, the New England Patriots could be sure that, say, some woman quarterback would give them a better chance of a Super Bowl victory, then the greatest quarterback in history, Tom Brady, would be her backup… in a heartbeat. Simple as that.
There is, however, a prohibition — correctly — against men participating in women’s sports. The reason is simple. If men were allowed to compete directly against women… there’d be no women’s sports.
The most intriguing thing in all this is the sheer, jaw-dropping ignorance of Garcia-Navarro’s question to McEnroe. There’s no indication that the question was anything but perfectly serious. This is the abysmal level of ignorance to which NPR always sinks.
The reason is simple: NPR’s hard-leftist ideology trumps everything. Lulu Garcia-Navarro simply couldn’t possibly have imagined that the best female tennis player in the world wasn’t also the best tennis player in the world, flat out. In Garcia-Navarro’s world, women are the best at everything. They’re smarter, wiser, better educated, better at sports… better people in every respect, than men.
I guarantee that McEnroe’s response to her frankly idiotic question threw her completely for a loop. If Garcia-Navarro were to do the tiniest bit of digging, then she’d find that a whole lot of the fetid, stinking mess that is the leftist orthodoxy that Garcia-Navarro swallows uncritically, is mostly the same codswallop that she believed about Serena Williams.
Much to McEnroe’s credit, he doubled down later on his political incorrectness. A bit later on, he mused about something that we’ve suggested in these pages: that the women’s tours be forced to abandon their blatantly illegal, sex-based discrimination and allow men to play on their tours. 🙂
Here’s another snippet from the Vox piece linked above:
But after repeating what happened, he also leaned into the controversy a bit more by floating a theory about men and women playing on the same tour: “Why don’t you combine, just solve the problem — I’m sure the men would be all for this — the men and women play together, and then we don’t have to guess.”
That’s the only mention that the Vox writer, one Alex Abad-Santos, makes of this excellent, brilliant, horrible, awful idea. It’s an excellent, brilliant idea, because it would “solve the problem,” and we wouldn’t “have to guess.”
It’s a horrible, awful idea because it would mean the disappearance of major women’s sports, and that would be tragic. Women’s sports are good for women, good for men, good for the world.
The ignorance that NPR’s Garcia-Navarro displayed with her fatuous question is, sadly, typical of much of America’s perception of big-time sports. That howling, amateurish empty-headedness is the reason for All These Words on what really ought to be kind of a minor thing. Garcia-Navarro is supposed to be a journalist. She’s supposed to be educated! Literate! Informed! Well-read! Not… dimly, dully, stupidly… ignorant.
The reason for this is that few people ever publicly tell the truth when talking about women’s sports. Speaking honestly about women’s sports would debunk the farcical notion that the best female tennis player in the world might be the best overall player in the world. She’s not… not even close. Not even in the same ballpark. And don’t forget: Garcia-Navarro is almost certainly, as you read this, royally hacked off at McEnroe for what he said… which was simply the truth.
The following is going to sound terribly condescending. How sad it is that to speak a simple, non-debatable truth could be seen as condescending! Here goes anyway, though: Serena Williams is great… for a woman. She should be applauded and respected for her achievements… even if they come only from playing against women. Just as we sincerely applaud, admire and respect high school and college sports champions… but we don’t pretend that they’ve competed against the actual top competition in the world.
Both men and women should reject out-of-hand the silly notion that women are as good as men in the major sports.
Men should be upset about it because the belief that someone who couldn’t even play in their league is the best in the world… belittles them. It robs them of much well-deserved credit for some hugely laudable, admirable accomplishments.
Women should be equally upset at the notion that a woman is the best overall in a sport… because they’ll always know that the accolade is phony. A woman will always know that every time someone calls her “the best overall,” still no one would dream of suggesting that she play against the top man, and make it so that we “don’t have to guess.” Nor, then would she remotely even want to. She’d be the one with all to lose. After all, she’d just heard that she was the best — overall — in the world!
I mean, let’s face it: Serena’s already lost to the #203-ranked dude! A Roger Federer, or Rafa Nadal, or Andy Murray would wipe up the tennis court with her! The question would be: “will she even win a single game?” She likely wouldn’t win a single point that her opponent didn’t lose. Meaning: the only points Serena Williams would make against a top-ranked man would be those points in which the man makes some kind of unforced error or other mistake.
Again, don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m a big fan and active supporter of women’s sports. I’m not a fan of the dishonest, left-wing propaganda and outright lies with which the general coverage of women’s sports is stuffed. It spawns the ignorance so ridiculously on display by NPR’s Garcia-Navarro in her interview of John McEnroe.
Oh, the other question should also be asked: if NPR is this ignorant on this item, where else is their ignorance going to infuse their “news” broadcasts?
Our long-running “NPR Watch” series has picked out hundreds of examples of NPR’s ignorance, and documented, dissected and displayed them here… with details. You can type “NPR Watch” into the Search Box at the top of any one of our pages, then press the ENTER key, to read some. I should make one more note: While we’ve picked out hundreds of such examples over the past few years, there were literally thousands more that we didn’t include, because, well, we just couldn’t… there simply wasn’t time. Imagine having a gallon jug to try to drain an entire swamp full of fetid gunk. There just isn’t time.