UK baseball confronts the problems of sexism – International

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It would not be an exaggeration to say Amanda Hawking devoted his life to baseball – In a special way women’s baseball – No UK. It was his dream to practice sports since childhood. This made recent events doubly painful for Hawking, and he had to resign as general manager of the UK women’s baseball team.

On April 25, Hawking, better known as Doris, was shocked and disappointed to see a post on her account. British Baseball Federation on Twitter. It seemed like a crude attempt by the Federation to use a sexual image of a topless player to promote the new UK Women’s Baseball League founded by Hawking.

The image showed a player from behind, wearing a helmet and holding gloves. The player did not appear to be wearing either a uniform top or a halter top. To the left of the image was the logo of the Women’s League, giving an impression of its approval. Despite requests to withdraw the tweet, it went on air for hours and was initially defended by the Federation President.

Within a week, the post led to the resignations of both Gerry Perez and Hawking, former president of the British Baseball Federation, sparking outrage in the small but passionate British baseball community over an issue depicting a problem. America.

Revelations of sexual harrasment And following misconduct reports that women were abused by officials and coaches from various teams, Major League Baseball US has been a source of concern in recent months. The incident in England demonstrated that the problem is not limited to American baseball.

In a direct interview from his home, Hawking said of his May 4 resignation, “It broke my heart. As a kid, my dream was to play baseball in the UK, to build this league and be taken seriously. But mine The dream is broken.” Camelford, Cornwall, South-West England.

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As in the United States, the episode was a catalyst for many to take a closer look at British baseball’s attitudes toward women. But unlike in America, many in the British baseball community quickly gathered around Hawking and condemned the British league.

In the UK, players do not make a living playing baseball, so there is little at stake. But several teams issued statements condemning the tweet and the federation’s lack of prompt response. The players threatened to boycott the games if action was not taken.

British New York Mets fan Tracy Wilkes, based in Sheffield, England, said: “It’s heartening to see that Doris and the men’s support for the women’s game has been incredible and I think this unfortunate incident has given us an opportunity to learn.” and is one of the hosts of birds with balls, British Baseball Podcast.

For many, the tweet itself was the source of the problem. The Federation’s lack of regret and its initial decision to protect the image, instead of erasing it, added fuel to the fire of the conflict.

British men’s team coach Drew Spencer also oversees the regional men’s and women’s teams. He said he was shocked and disappointed by the tweet, and immediately reached out to Hawking for support. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to be a big problem. It was devastating for Doris. She literally devoted her life to British baseball,” said Spencer of California, who attended Dartmouth College in the 1990s. In the center player played. before leaving for England.

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Hawking, 34, who was seven years old when his mother gave him a baseball glove, played at the neighborhood football field with his brother and a few friends, but they didn’t even know the rules. When I was a teenager, I always kept an eye on these EBAY Looking for a pitching machine and, at age 19, went to the British Baseball Federation to find out if there were any teams or leagues for women. He was shown softball, which did not interest him. She was just starting to think about forming a women’s team when she died of a severe case of cholesteatoma, a tumor in the skin of the middle ear that reached her brain. Doctors announced that she would not live beyond the age of 27. “I had accepted that I was going to die and even planned my funeral,” he said.

A new laser technique eliminated the tumor and Hawking was cured, although with some balance problems related to damage to the inner ear. Although she regained her health, she struggled to cope with the changes in her life until one day she saw an ad on the social network for mixed league baseball in Cornwall. He entered, and his passion and his spirit for baseball were renewed. “That ad saved my life. There was nothing to get me out of bed. Since then, everything has changed.”

But seeing that tweet, it seemed that his famous game has turned against him. When Hawking first saw the shirtless woman’s post, he found it to be in bad taste, but thought the problem would easily go away if it was taken out. “Everyone makes mistakes. You solve and keep going,” he said. So he messaged Perez and asked him to remove the post. Hawking wrote in a text, “It is clear that the player in the image is shirtless and this is not appropriate. Can you change or remove the image? Thank you.” the new York Times.

Perez initially denied it, claiming that the woman in the picture was not topless. Instead, he responded to Hawking, claiming that there was originally a uniform on the image, but that an editor had changed the picture “so you can’t see his name.”

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a British Baseball League Despite frequent insistent requests from Hawking and others, the post was left open for about 12 hours before being removed. Hawking said he found Perez’s responses offensive.

Despite multiple attempts to contact Perez via email and voicemail, he did not respond to requests for comment.

Perez resigned on May 7 as pressure mounted. A few days later, the British League apologized to Hawking and the entire women’s league, saying it planned to work with Hawking and the women’s team to “analyze the structural flaws within the league that led to the unfortunate incident”.

Hawking said that once the situation calmed down, he was encouraged by the show of support he received. She is focused on the new national league, but is not ready to resume her position as director of the women’s national team. Spencer said he expected Hawking to reconsider. After all, modern women’s baseball in Britain is largely the result of Hawking’s vision and work. Spencer concluded, “Nobody does anything on their own, but if Doris didn’t create the UK Women’s Baseball League and be a beacon of hope for women across the country, the team probably wouldn’t exist.”

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Sarah Gracie

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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