Working as a reporter, I experienced first-hand the disrespect and harassment that is the industry norm. Its time the sport began to respect women
Football has a problem with women. It was there every day, in every training ground, every stadium and every press box I entered. The five years I spent working as a football journalist were so steadily and fiercely degrading, they very nearly destroyed me.
A good day meant being belittled, having my knowledge questioned, or my attire, or being complimented on the quality of the pastries at half-time because I stood too close to the catering table. A bad day meant being harassed, phoning a player for an interview to be told he was naked and intending to discuss a very different kind of performance.
I could try and recount all the times I was pressed up against or lunged at or spoken to or about with unbridled vulgarity but, after a while, it became so commonplace that I stopped noticing it. And therein lies the problem.
In a week where much has been made of locker-room banter and its pervasive misogyny, we havent yet talked about the sporting world, where it originates.
This is a world where normal rules appear not to apply, as the Ched Evans case demonstrates. In the regimented world of football, freedom is what happens in dark nightclubs and dim hotel rooms: freedom from coupledom, from fatherhood, from accountability. In the football world it is common for multiple players to have sex with the same woman on the same night, just as it is common for them to believe they acquire consent simply by virtue of being footballers (although Evans maintains he did obtain consent).