Episode

3/17 The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League w/ Britni de la Cretaz & Lyndsey D’Arcangelo

March 17, 2022

Emma hosts writer Britni de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, women’s basketball writer for the Athletic, to discuss their recent book Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League, and what they’ve uncovered in diving into the history of the league and the women that played in it. D’Arcangelo and de la Cretaz dive into the research that led them to the history of this league, first studying the role of women in football writ large, before stumbling onto the Toledo Troopers, the winningest team in Pro Football history, and somehow the only National Women’s Football League team that the media has left any trace of. Next, Britni and Lyndsey walk through what the league’s relationship with the media and public looked like at the time, including the shoestring budgets and misogynistic coverage that they had to operate with, which unfortunately still reflects the state of women’s sports in the US, before they dive deeper into the limited coverage they received, which generally focused on the body shapes, and “attractiveness” of the women playing the game, and how it petered off as soon as they found it had lost its novel appeal. Jumping back to the end of the 19th Century, de la Cretaz and D’Arcangelo dive into a Harvard – Yale women’s football game that saw incredible reception, both by the women who came to play and spectate, and even by the male onlookers – despite the exploitative nature behind their attendance – and how throughout the history of Football, women have clearly shown their interest in playing and engaging with the sport. This brings them to the beginnings of the NWFL in the 1960s, as Sid Friedman, a sports agent at the time, saw an opportunity to make a spectacle of women that could play the sport against men, slowly expanding it to more and more women’s football teams in the rust belt, and eventually launching the creation of the league. Despite the success the teams saw in the run-up to the creation of the league, in the wake of the expansion the women saw little-to-no media coverage, and what they did see hinged on the misogyny they had begun the discussion with, not to mention rampant homophobia both within the media and in the running of the teams themselves, despite the largely queer player base. This brings them to a discussion of the role of infrastructure to bolster the development of young athletes, and how when it comes to male athletes the positive impact of the infrastructure is ignored, just like the negative impact on women with lacking infrastructure is ignored, as they discuss the role of Title IX’s passing in the same era as the NWFL, and look forwards to see what changes could and should be done to promote women’s sports in the future. Emma also covers the ramping efforts to get the US involved in hot warfare, alongside the complete evaporation of international aid to other war-torn countries like Yemen, and dives into Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)’s love for disaster capitalism.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Matt Binder and Brandon Sutton as they admire Brian Holmes pressing Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin of Idaho on her White Supremacist connections, even though she only JUST googled Nick Fuentes’s beliefs, before reflecting on a beautiful Michael Brooks clip to celebrate St Patty’s day, and Ben Shapiro and Pat Robertson take on US intervention from wildly different, yet equally violent sides. Justin from Seattle calls in to discuss revamping public housing on the federal level, Evan from Portland explores the peer review process in the scientific community, and Fox discusses Biden’s tardiness. Eric Metaxas and Charlie Kirk proclaim their appreciation for Bill Clinton’s economic policy, Ben in VT promotes his state’s upcoming constitutional amendment, and Sam from Indiana discusses personal liberties and gun ownership, plus, your calls and IMs!

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