“Hockey Night In Canada”‘s Don Cherry used a portion of last night’s “Coach’s Corner” regular season finale to come to the defense of Chicago’s Duncan Keith, who earlier in the week told a female reporter she was unqualified to weigh in on his assault of Daniel Sedin. Of Cherry’s comments (“they should not be walking in when naked guys are walking in”). the Globe & Mail’s Jeff Blair writes, “our National Daft Old Uncle has gone and done it again.”
The reason women have access to locker rooms, dressing rooms or clubhouses is simple: it allows them the same freedom that male reporters enjoy and, as a result, allows female reporters who wish to earn a living as sportswriters to do so. I mean, that’s it. Nothing more; nothing less. And as someone who, with all due respect to Don Cherry, spends much more time in locker rooms and the like than he does, I can put the old fool’s mind to rest: unless it’s one of the dumpier sports facilities out there – such as Fenway Park, for example – players usually shower and change in separate areas. Often, players are either in sweatsuits or street clothes when they are in areas where they do post-game interviews. If they have showered, they avail themselves of this new invention – it’s called a towel, Don – and the skilled ones among them have mastered the art of slipping on skivvies underneath the towel so prying eyes don’t get a sight of their unmentionables. It’s just not that difficult to maintain a sense of decorum.
It’s odd hearing a puck-head talk the way Cherry talks, because the truth is the NHL and NBA were the two sports that were at the front of the pack in ensuring equal access, which is the way it should be. There may be a time when all reporters – male and female – stop accessing to dressing rooms, likely because the nature of sports writing and sports journalism evolves to the point where it is no longer necessary. But as long as male reporters are allowed in, so should women have the right of equal access. Only Don Cherry could start a fire out of this much damp wood.