October 4, 2019

"We Can See It As Degrading Whether Or Not She's A Good Sport About It"

Poor Rays Sideline Reporter Keeps Getting Absolutely Soaked In Celebratory Postgame Alcohol
Chris Thompson, Deadspin, October 3, 2019, 2:03 am
Fox Sports Florida sideline reporter Tricia Whitaker keeps getting mercilessly drenched by celebrating Rays players, who seem to view live postgame interviews as opportunities to dump truly gargantuan quantities of beer and champagne over her head.

Whitaker was seen squeezing cold booze out of her hair during her delightful interview with Tyler Glasnow ... She then caught a significant misting when Glasnow was ambushed with a freezing-cold beer shower mid-answer. ...

Whitaker soldiered ahead with her questions despite now being just completely drenched in beer. She continued to catch splashes while talking to Tommy Pham ...

Whitaker ... caught another direct spray while interviewing Avisail García moments later ...

The most impressive thing about this is Whitaker's steadfast professionalism, with our heroine enduring sprays and splashes and outright pours while sticking to her questions and getting good answers. ...

I have no reason to doubt Whitaker's comments, but I was also struck by the near unanimous consensus of the article's commenters:

If there is a baseline between exuberant celebration and disturbingly degrading behavior, these videos are a slow roller toward first that might not stay in fair territory.

It's absolutely degrading behavior. Teenager mob mentality.

Yeah, this has a distinctly non-consensual feel to it. She is literally there as a requirement of her job. Kudos to her (i guess?) for being a good sport about it but it feels real yucky to watch the video of enormous men wearing face covering goggles drenching a single, totally unprotected woman with alcohol.

Watching most of those made me feel super uncomfortable for her.

That's what really bugs me about these celebratory locker room interviews. I don't expect any reporter to be able to walk into the locker room and walk away dry. ... But to specifically target the reporter and pour out a six pack over their head is not that. Even if she told them before hand that it was all good, and to treat her like she's part of the team, it still comes across... not good.

Agreed, is one thing to be incidentally splashed by all of the booze flying around, it's another thing to have three dudes surround you and dump 5 beers on your head.

Oh cool, we're televising textbook sexual harassment now. She was being a sport because she'd like to keep her job, not because she likes to take part in a wet tshirt contest on TV

Also Not Smart
Obviously she has a good rapport with the team, or at least they think so, but this made me feel uncomfortable from start to finish. Has a rapey frat house feel to it.

Yep. And if the reporter was a man I'm sure he would've gotten wet, but it wouldn't have been an unrelenting, recurring torrent.

That was fucked up. Nice to know that Houston will be putting the brakes on any more of it happening again.

I am not usually one to clutch pearls on stuff like this, but this was really uncomfortable. Kudos to her for putting on the happy face and rolling with it while the boys act like sleazy douchebags, like women so often have to do, but this doesn't look good.

If she says she was having fun that's awesome. She goes through the 162 games right alongside the team and works her butt off and that she gets to be part of the celebration is cool.
But ... the visual of it totally creeped me out and a lot of these replies point to the exact reasons the scene was problematic to me:
1. A person's presence in a place is NOT consent.
2. A person's agreement to certain actions with another person does NOT provide consent to other actions that person later wants to do to him/her. ...
Physical actions done on another person's body should ALWAYS be consensual and a lot of the toxic culture in sports that spills over to other areas of life starts with the idea that whatever anyone else wants to do to your body you have to be OK with to be a good sport.

I say this without even an ounce of judgement for Tricia Whitaker, but the reality is that women who want to build a career in sports have to do at least a little bit of 'cool-girl'ing. I tolerate bullshit in sports environments that I absolutely wouldn't tolerate anywhere else, and yeah, I often find myself questioning my own tolerance for borderline sexism from athletes. But also, I really like sports and the after parties are moooooooostly fun. And I'm saying this as a fan, not someone who's income is dependent on it.
Tl;dr: When hanging out with athletes as a woman it is exhausting to constantly analyze whether their behaviour would be different toward you if you were a man, and it's best to just give up and go along for the ride. I imagine that is even more true for women who've made a career interviewing athletes mid-celebration.

We can see it as degrading whether or not she's a good sport about it.

My tolerance for athletes being jackasses is pretty much zero at this point. ... However, from those interviews, the Rays really seem to have high level of respect for Tricia and were not being short with her. ... In her feed, she did say that she was the reporter that got the worst of the drenching.

The dark outfit she was wearing was perfect for getting drenched and still looking OK. She seemed prepared to do the job.

Le Comte de Brûleur
[Y]ou can/should expect to be splashed in these environments, maybe even be the actual target once or twice, but this seemed excessive, abusive, uncomfortable for a lot of viewers or commenters. ... If she's a media person covering that team, then she kind of has to go along, if she wants to keep her job. And that leads us into the terrain we used to be in not that long ago, "if you want to work on the shop floor with the boys, you have to expect off-colour humour, and the occasional slap on the bum, that's just bonding..."

Even if she's the best sport in the world and thinks getting drowned in fizzy yellow mass market swill is the funniest thing ever, look at how many people up and down this thread have mentioned that watching this display made them uncomfortable. This isn't a private party, it's a public media event. ... And if you're making the folks at home uncomfortable, then you're doing it wrong.

If this were just your standard champagne shower, why would Deadspin bother writing about it?

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