SBD/12/Sports Society

WILL WITT'S POSING HAVE IMPACT ON OTHER FEMALE ATHLETES?

          Does Katarina Witt posing for Playboy "mean we've
     reached the point where a female athlete can take off her
     clothes without having a detrimental effect on other female
     athletes?," wonders Carol Slezak of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. 
     Slezak: "Unfortunately, I wouldn't bet on it.  If a male
     athlete, say Michael Jordan, posed nude in Playgirl, there
     would be no negative repercussions for him or for any male
     athlete.  We wouldn't suddenly take the careers of Brett
     Favre, David Wells, Scottie Pippen or Chris Chelios less
     seriously as a result of Jordan's decision. ... Why would
     Witt's photos even peripherally affect Martina Hingis or
     Yolanda Griffith? ... They shouldn't, but they always have. 
     They help perpetuate the notion that a woman's primary roll
     in life is to be ogled by men."  Slezak adds, "Female
     athletes aren't helping their cause by choosing to pose
     nude."  If Playboy tries to "woo more female athletes to its
     pages," Slezak hopes the athletes "say no" (SUN-TIMES,
     11/11).  In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs asks, "Are athletes role
     models?  And if they are, what message is Witt sending?" 
     Blizzards G Jen Rizzotti: "Women's sports has come so far
     and it seems like it's something where some males could say,
     'See, this is what women's sports are about.'  It could be
     degrading. ... I think we're at a point where what one well-
     known women athlete does, it kind of affects every other
     female athlete" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 11/12). 

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