Next Tuesday, July 16th, ESPN will premiere the next film in its new Nine For IX series. Let Them Wear Towels is the latest in the film series. It will air at 8pm. The new film focuses on the challenges faced by female sports reporters as they struggled to make their own place in the largely male dominated world that is the professional sports locker room. The film was co-directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern. The core of the story centers on examples such as that of then twenty-five year old Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olsen’s sexual harassment case involving players with the New England Patriots and that of Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke being barred from the New York Yankees’ clubhouse.
Olsen’s case rose as a result of Olsen being sexually harassed by members of the team, who exposed their genitals to her and made crass comments to her. The 1990 case resulted in an investigation by the NFL. It resulted in the finding that Olsen had in fact been “degraded and humiliated” by the players in question. Despite her win in the case, fans of the Pats continued to chide her so harshly in public that she ended up moving all the way around the world to Australia for a period of time to restart her broadcasting career.
Melissa Ludtke, who at the time worked for Sports Illustrated, faced her own turmoil as a female sports reporter. She had been barred from entering the New York Yankees’ locker room over a decade ago.. Ludtke challenged the action by the Yankees organization and won.
Sundberg and Stern incorporate interviews with Ludtke, Olsen and many others within the sports universe in their examination of why the subject of female reports in the professional sports locker room remains such a hot button issue today. The pair examines the history of women in the largely male dominated sports world as well in order to find out why this remains such an important topic even now in the twenty-first century. This film, and all of the films in the Nine for IX series can be downloaded the day after their broadcast via iTunes and Amazon. This October, there will be a special collectible gift set that includes all of the films in the Nine for IX series. It will be available October 15th, 2013.
The complete Nine For IX schedule is listed below.
July 16: Let Them Wear Towels
July 23: No Limits
July 30: Swoopes
August 6: The Diplomat
August 13: Runner
August 20: The ‘99ers
August 27: Branded
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