A no-bullshit newsletter about sexism in sports

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Women’s sports receives only four percent of all sports media coverage. Women only account for 13% of all sports reporters and editors.

If those statistics make you angry, then you’ve come to the right place.

Power Plays is a newsletter for people who are sick of hearing bullshit excuses, and ready to see equality for women in sports.

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Inequality in sports isn’t an accident

Whenever people bring up the unequal pay, resources, and/or media coverage women ins ports deal with, two related choruses break out: “No one cares!” and “It’s because of market forces!”

It’s not sexism or anything personal, the naysayers shout. (And trust me, they’re ALWAYS SHOUTING.) It’s just that women’s sports are boring.

That explanation is, of course, (*searches thesaurus for another word to use in place of bullshit*) poppycock!

Men have worked deliberately for centuries to keep women and nonbinary people out of sports. And, though female trailblazers have ensured that we’re far closer to equality today than we were yesterday, most of those purposefully exclusionary paradigms of power are still in operation.

(Goodness, “poppycock” is a great word.)

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Power Plays will look beyond the excuses

Power Plays will take a look at the power structures and decision makers that are controlling these “market forces” and keeping women’s sports — and women and nonbinary people who work in sports — on the margins. It will examine the many ways that racism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia exacerbate that marginalization.

Power Plays will hold powerful people in the industry — from television networks to sponsors, CEOs to billionaire owners, apparel companies to journalists — accountable for how their choices impact women in sports.

We’ll rage, we’ll roll our eyes, we’ll cheer, we’ll learn. And, I promise, we’ll have a lot of fun while doing it.

*Insert Kawhi Leonard Fun Guy Gif*

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That sounds cool. But, um, how will Power Plays do that?

Three days a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — Power Plays subscribers will get a mixture of exclusive reporting, one-on-one interviews, history lessons, news commentary, and analysis about the biggest issues surrounding gender in sports directly into their inbox. (And there will be bonus newsletters, news permitting.)

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We’re going to talk Title IX and the WNBA’s CBA fight, the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit, and the future of the NWSL. We’re going to investigate sexual abuse in sports, take deep dives into pivotal moments in women’s sports history, talk to female athletes about how ending NCAA amateurism would truly impact them, and study how the media perpetuates sexism in sports.

We’re going to go behind the headlines and the hysteria, and get to the root of the problem — which, so often, isn’t about money or audience numbers or interest; it’s about power.

About me, Lindsay Gibbs

I’m a freelance sports reporter, co-host of the popular feminist sports podcast, Burn It All Down, and the author of an upcoming book with Beacon Press about this current wave of female athlete activism, which examines the ways women in sports are leading the way when it comes to issues such as #BlackLivesMatter, #EqualPay, and #MeToo.

For the past four years, I was the sports reporter at ThinkProgress, where I covered everything from the launch of the National Womens’s Hockey League to the WNBA’s media blackouts over police brutality, the legacy of Kobe Bryant’s rape case to Muffet McGraw’s decision not to hire any more male coaches.

I’m a contributor writer to The Athletic, where I cover the Washington Mystics and Maryland women’s basketball, and I’ve also written for Deadspin, The Ringer, and Bleacher Report, among others. I’m a regular guest on NPR, and my reporting has been featured on ESPN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and MSNBC.

Have I convinced you to trust me yet? I hope so, because goodness does listing my credentials make me feel icky.

Basically, I spend most of my life thinking about, researching, and reporting on gender, power, and intersectionality in sports. I want to share all of that work with you.

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Okay. But, why a newsletter?

Because the media industry is in trouble, sports media might be in the most precarious position of all, and this topic is too important to leave up to the whims of whatever venture capitalist firm happens to step into media at any given moment just because they feel like it.

And, like I said, IT IS GOING TO BE FUN, I PROMISE!!!

Please email me with questions, tips, fan mail, and typo alerts at lindsay@powerplays.news.

And share with a friend. We’re going to build this together.

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This newsletter — which launches October 30, 2019 — will be free for the next couple of months, and after that, I’ll be moving to a subscription model.

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