I don’t know if you saw it, but if you didn’t, it had to be one of the more humiliating moments in the long, illustrious career of NFL insider Adam Schefter. After over a month of no athletic events besides some really captivating marble races, the NFL brought the spectacle of their annual draft to sports-starved population.
Weeks before, the NFL had captured conversation in the sports world by allowing the free agent market to open as planned. That was big. This was bigger.
How big? Even though the NFL Draft aired as a virtual event, with the teams’ general managers registering their picks through the wonders of the internet rather than at a live event, the viewership was astronomical. A total of 15.6 million people tuned in across the Disney-family of networks (ABC, ESPN) and the NFL Network, shattering the previous viewership record of 12.4 million in 2014.
By any standard, this was a monstrous event for the NFL and a population of fans desperate for a return to normalcy. And most everyone saw it coming, including Schefter who tweeted what was on most people’s minds just as the event was getting underway:
Unfortunately for Schefter, woke scolds were quick to pounce on him with a correction – the WNBA had their draft nearly a week before. That’s the Women’s National Basketball Association, a league that began in 1997 and has struggled to catch on ever since. It’s likely that Schefter was completely oblivious to the WNBA draft, and that was apparently the problem. Feminists and woke activists pressured him into issuing the customary apology:
For all I know, Schefter is part of the bizarre leftist stranglehold over sports media that helped create the very monster that turned on him. That still doesn’t make this any less insane.
The WNBA Draft brought in 387,000 viewers. A quick mathematical calculation reveals it accrued 2% of the NFL’s total. These numbers don’t disparage women, and they don’t tell little girls that they can’t be whatever they want to be. They simply say that the WNBA is not even in the same zip code as the NFL when it comes to sports entertainment.
Pretending otherwise is actually far more insulting than merely accepting that rather obvious fact. It’s the same thing I think as a teacher when I hear well-intentioned commentators lament the “paltry” wages of the teaching profession when compared to the multimillion-dollar contracts of athletes.
When masses of people are willing to pay $80 a day to sit in the nose-bleeds and watch me teach my social studies classroom, right before stopping by the pro-shop and picking up my vintage button-up dress shirt and khakis uniform, to the point where my school corporation is bringing in billions of dollars in profits I’ve made them, then I will start to agree with them.
And that’s the point here. If the WNBA is making enough money to sustain itself, great. But until 15.6 million people are tuning in to watch them pick their new players, can we please stop shaming analysts and the public for not pretending otherwise?