Fair warning: A long rant about Dibble, MASN and the treatment of women. Read at your own risk.
Yesterday, I, along with many other women bloggers, received two emails from a public relations representative of MASN in regard to my blog entry about Rob Dibble. They were brief and to the point.
The first one:
I wanted to make sure you saw this new blog post by Rob Dibble.
That link leads to a MASN blog entry where Dibble wrote 12 paragraphs about his mother, wife and daughter, just to show folks he knows women, and one paragraph, and when I write “paragraph” I mean two lines, about the controversy:
The other night I made an off-handed comment, the meaning of which may have been misconstrued beyond what was said. If any fan of this great game took offense, then he or she should know that this was neither my intention nor my history in the game.
This wasn’t an apology. This wasn’t an explanation. This was an excuse (“beyond what was said”…no, it was about exactly what was said, multiple times over the course of the game and wasn’t “misconstrued” at all) and MASN was actually so proud of it that they sent it to the women bloggers who wrote about Dibble’s remarks. The rep from MASN (Todd Webster) didn’t mention anything about the controversy either, just a quick note to give his site traffic. I was still debating with myself about whether I should respond to Mr. Webster or just let it go when I received another email from him.
Rob addressed this topic on the air during today’s broadcast. I didn’t hear it because I was sitting in left field for the Strasburg outing, but it was transcribed by Nationals fan (and frequently outspoken Dibble critic) Kevin Reiss.
There is a typo, but otherwise it appears accurate. You now have all of the story, if you wanted to update your post or your take on the subject.
Again I note that MASN hasn’t addressed this issue at all. Not a word. Not a, “we support Mr Dibble” not a “We regret Mr Dibble’s remarks”, nothing. It’s bad enough both their teams make them want to kick someone, but now it’s obvious Orioles and Nationals fans have to watch a network that cares nothing about the people who keep them in business.
But let’s see what Dibble had to say (thanks to the transcription talents of Kevin Reiss):
“You know, Bob, recently some things have come to my attention that, in cyberspace, some really toxic and hurtful things have been mentioned about me, something I said last week during a baseball game. To anybody that does not know me that was offended, or tool offense with what I said in my weak attempt to be humorous during a down time during the game, I truly apologize. That’s not truly how I feel about any baseball fan — men, women, or children. And so I wrote a blog, in my own words, not the words of other people who’d like you to think differently, on MASNSports.com. So, my humble and sincere apology if I offended anybody last week.”
Okay, Rob, let’s dance. When I started blogging at MLBlogs, I developed a nemesis of sorts. Another blogger who didn’t like me or the popularity of my blog and who happened to be a man. He used to write blog entries dedicated to tearing me apart because he was jealous that my blog received so many hits. His reasoning for my successful blog? I must have been sleeping with the site editor at MLBlogs. During my time at WEEI.com, I started getting emails and comments from men calling me a cow, a c**t, a bitch, and more and making references to my looks, my weight, my age and my marital status at every turn. I lost count of how many of these comments and messages I received. I bring all of this up for two reasons, 1) I like men. Heck, I love men and just because I’ve been treated unfairly by many of them on the Internet, that doesn’t mean I believe every man on the Internet is a sexist jerk, regardless of my experiences. I know this isn’t true. So, unlike you, I try not to generalize about something so serious and 2) You’re being called misogynistic and sexist. You said something hateful and stupid and people called you on it while women like me, and many others, have to deal with “toxic and hurtful” things being said at and about us for no reason. (I’d also like to point out that what you said about those women was “toxic and hurtful” yet you STILL haven’t apologized for that.) I’d switch places with you in a heartbeat, pal, because you honestly have NO BLOODY CLUE what it is like to be verbally attacked for nothing except having been born with a uterus.
After receiving that second email from Todd Webster at MASN, I decided I could, at the very least, respond to him. Hey he took the time to send a mass email to seemingly everyone who complained, why not give him the courtesy of writing back? So I did.
While I appreciate your sending this my way, If I write about this
again there’s more than a good chance you won’t like what I write.
MASN ignored (and really still has ignored) it from the beginning and
Dibble only offered this “apology” because of all the internet
activity surrounding it. What he wrote in his blog entry amounted to
basically saying “I have a mother and a wife, that means I like
women!” He was given the opportunity, thanks to women fans who wrote
in during the broadcast, to back off his statements and, knowing it
was offensive to those women who emailed the booth, continued on with
what he was saying. (A ‘down time” in the game? He kept up the talk
throughout the game.)
So Mr. Dibble will have to pardon me if I find his words hollow,
misleading and many days too late.
I was cranky, admittedly, but MASN had made me crankier than Dibble, if that’s possible. To his credit (I suppose), Todd Webster gave me a final response (using more words than he had in any of his other messages):
Thanks for the note.
And you are obviously welcome to (and deserving of readership for) your
Certainly Rob and MASN can be faulted for not responding more swiftly to
But it would be harder to question his sincerity, as he both wrote and spoke
and on-air apology for the incident. The fact is that he does host the
Nationals “NATS U” seminar, where 100 female fans spend several hours before
a game talking with and learning from Nats coaches, execs and broadcasters.
He has helped many women in sports and sports broadcasting, and he genuinely
believes they are some of the most knowledgeable and insightful students of
I appreciate your email back.
I hope that last line was in reference to the message I already had sent him because I couldn’t bring myself to respond to this for fear of my genuinely becoming nasty – which would not be fair to Mr. Webster. It wasn’t my desire to start a flame war with the poor guy saddled with the job of dealing with all the bloggers giving him grief for something someone else said. But banging the “He works with women! He likes women!” drum doesn’t change what he said. I think women shouldn’t be self-conscious about going to the game they love.
Show me a man, women or child who hasn’t talked during a sporting event and I’ll show you someone without the ability to talk. It happens. It happens a lot. Dibble had no idea what they were talking about he just knew two women were in good seats and talking which, apparently, equals high comedy for him. I don’t feel sorry for his being taken to task over this on the Internet…especially since his employers didn’t bother about it at ALL. Everyone waited until there was a shitstorm of backlash and then decided, days later, that this half-assed, non-apology would do the trick. As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t enough “hurtful” things being written about Mr. Dibble. As long as people all agree to silently endorse the using of women as a punchline (especially in sports) it won’t ever stop. In baseball, joking about someone’s race or religion gets you a suspension or worse. Joking about women gets you a pat on the back…or at the very least, gets the men to circle their wagons.
I feel the need to make this part clear: I certainly don’t think Rob Dibble is even close to being the worst offender when it comes to men in sports denigrating or demoralizing women. I believe, though, that his story is a good one for all of us to follow. What he said, how people responded and how he felt he cleared the air can teach good lessons in gender relations. Something, it seems, many folks could really use.
So I won’t stop. I will keep bringing this stuff up as it happens. Being silent is giving consent and I’m not about to condone actions or words that are “toxic and hurtful” against women.