Personal fouls

By ADAM REILLY  |  July 29, 2009

But the cultural problem suggested by the Andrews case is much bigger than her stalker and her more pathetic online fans. The diminishment of women is part of pro sports' DNA. Think of the NFL's cheerleaders and the NBA's "dancers," for example, or Playboy's "Sexiest Sportscaster" contest, or the prolific promiscuity of pro athletes as a group. (As Kevin Elster of the New York Mets once told Sports Illustrated: "You can get sex every night. On the road. At home. It doesn't matter.") This is the world our sports heroes inhabit, whether we want to admit it or not.

Let me be absolutely clear: this broader cultural problem doesn't mean Roethlisberger's accuser is telling the truth. McNulty could turn out to be a spurned lover, or a shameless opportunist, or simply a kook. But it does mean that— for the time being — her charges have to be reported, especially by ESPN. After all, when you're the "Worldwide Leader," you simply can't pretend that sports are all fun and games.

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