Wednesday Feb 03, 2021

Episode 63: On the NWHL, *That* Media Company, and the “Girlboss” Ethos with Natalie Weiner and Hemal Jhaveri

In this episode of The End of Sport, Derek and Johanna are joined by USA Today’s For The Win editor and columnist Hemal Jhaveri and Natalie Weiner, weekly columnist of Good Form on Fanbyte, to discuss everything that went down over the past week in Women’s hockey. More specifically, the episode provides a deep dive into what happened with the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), Barst**l Sports CEO Erica Nardini and the mass of online trolls, and the critique launched at Nardini and others from Metropolitan Riveters defender Saroya Tinker.

After describing what happened last week, the four talk about Natalie’s piece in Fanbyte and Hemal’s analysis in For The Win, and highlight how it reflects a broader issues of systemic racism, patriarchy, privilege and power, and how people at Barst**l perfectly encapsulate the form of what Nancy Leong calls “identity capitalists” – powerful insiders who eke out social and economic value from Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, LGBTQI+ folks, the poor, and other marginalized groups. Following our discussion of the hypocrisy and paradoxical logic put forth by representatives of Barst**l in their protection of their CEO (by targeting players in the NWHL and, more specifically, athletes like Saroya Tinker), the four chat about how the events of the past week are reflective of much broader systemic issues that move beyond the NWHL and hockey culture in general. Finally, Johanna probes the rest to think about how we might apply Natalie’s critique of the “girlboss” mentality to another realm of exclusion in sport – the transphobic rhetoric we are seeing emerge in sports like Swimming targeting Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation (for some MUCH NEEDED background and analysis on this see Britni De La Cretaz brilliant piece for Refinery29).  

Hemal’s piece in For the Win:The NWHL has a Barstool problem, and it can no longer look away

Natalie’s piece for Fanbyte:  “The Double-Edged Sword of ‘Women’s Empowerment.”

You can follow Hemal and Natalie on Twitter!



For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)

Research Assistance for The End of Sport provided by Abigail Bomba.


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