According to USA Today, Lindsay Czarniak will be the first on-air television host for the Indianapolis 500. This is big news for the racing world but also for our culture in this country. We are far from where we need to be in the battle for gender equality but it is great to see barriers and walls being busted down everyday. Unfortunately Danica Patrick will not be running in this year's Indy 500, otherwise we could have seen the first woman winner of the 500 on the same day that the first woman hosted the event. However, Danica's presence in NASCAR and the sport of racing continues to bolster popularity of the sports among the female demographic.
The Indy 500 will air on ABC on May 26, 2013. This will be the 49th time that the legendary race will be seen on ABC. Czarniak will replace the great Brent Musburger who had hosted the event on TV since 2005. As a sports fan it is very encouraging to see networks across all major sports embrace the idea of women analysts and anchors. ESPN/ABC (Disney) has been instrumental in ushering women into these prominent roles. Doris Burke has been on many NBA telecasts as a color analyst. Wendy Nix hosts NFL Live all the time. The recent departures of Erin Andrews, Rachel Nichols, and Michelle Beadle have come as a result of receiving more prominent TV roles at other networks.
The sports world has been a hard egg to crack for women and getting the credibility they deserve. No longer is sideline reporter the only position available for a woman. People like Czarniak, Andrews, & Burke continue to prove that you don't have to be a man to love sports and you don't have to been a man to discuss and analyze sports at the highest levels.
I will leave you with a great quote from Czarniak, "Everywhere I've been, I've taken over a spot for a man." The winds are changing as Bob Dylan once wrote. Positions in sports and sports broadcasting that have been historically occupied by men are now giving way to highly talented women in their respective fields. Nice work people. I truly hope we continue to break down gender inequality both in sports and all other areas of life.
Case & Point
Brittney Griner, all-world standout center from Baylor University, was in the news earlier this month when Mark Cuban tweeted that he might draft Griner in the second round of the NBA Draft. Now that would be quite the event. I'm not sure how serious Cuban was, but the simple fact that he would even say that shows how far we have come. The idea of a woman playing in the NBA doesn't actually sound that crazy anymore. Certainly not as crazy as it would have sounded 15 or 20 years ago.
Written By: Craig Kibler