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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Gordon’

After several classroom conversations about gender roles, one of my students sent me a link to a news story about a nine-year-old named Sam Gordon who has been tearing up the competition on the football field. Unlike the highlight reels put together for a number of high school students, the purpose of this video wasn’t to draw the attention of college coaches. The purpose was to motivate Sam to focus on doing well on each play, as Sam’s dad notes in the linked article. Why is this news? Sam is a girl.

In terms of gender roles, the video, in which Sam runs past opposing players but also gets tackled by, and tackles, them, is interesting. Sam’s dad has apparently taken the video down, but here is another version with different music:

More interesting to me than the gender roles depicted in the video, though, are the gender roles depicted in responses to it. The Yahoo article that I linked to includes several asides asking whether it is appropriate for a girl to play with boys. For example, see the following paragraph:

It may be real, but is it appropriate? This is a 9-year-old girl playing against bigger, stronger boys. She even had a trainer who put her through agility drills and plyometrics. Gordon is not even 60 pounds, and there’s a kid on her team who weighs more than 150. (His nickname: Tank.) In an era of concussions and frequent ACL tears, it’s fair to ask: What are the adults thinking?

It is well known, of course, that only girls can be injured playing contact sports.

Another highlight is this sentence: “A lot of people won’t accept a 9-year-old girl playing tackle football, and perhaps with good reason. But it seems Sam loves it.” In the video below, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith unequivocally states that girls should not be playing football because it might make boys hit them outside of the game, somehow. Another commentator talks about his daughter playing football as a sophomore in high school and lasting three games before hurting her shoulder.

Christian Fuaria says that he wants his daughters to be able to play sports as long as they are watched over by the right kind of coaches (probably men) and as long as they are young (because it is cute when they are kids). The Memoirs of a SLACer Award for Excellence in Masculinity, though, goes to the commentator who asks whether it is fair to boys to have to play with girls since they are conditioned from a young age not to hit girls, giving girls an unfair advantage. Just like all of those advantages they have in the workplace.

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