SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Other News

‘The women didn’t fail. Management failed.’

Billie Jean King
Tennis great, World TeamTennis founder and equality-in-sports pioneer Billie Jean King sat down for a question-and-answer session with CBS Sports’ Lesley Visser. Among her comments were:

On the need to collaborate with men: “The media is controlled 90 percent by men, so everything is certainly framed from their point of view. Ninety percent of the media is controlled by men today, not back in the old days, but now. And so it is obvious that we need the men to be our allies if women’s sports are ever going to be truly professional across the board.”

On collaboration: “If I could ask every male to start thinking about how you could help women achieve their dreams like you have for the boys, that would be my one request. We need your help. … Not to say we are going to sit on our backside. We are going to work with them.”

On sharing: “I am very big on sharing, not dominating. I want men and women to walk hand in hand, people to walk hand in hand. We want a level playing field. We want to help each other.”

On whether she expects World TeamTennis players to be role models: “No, I do not. I would like them to be. I would want them to choose to be, but I know that I cannot make them be a role model. I would try to influence them to be. What we are as a professional athlete, we are a motivator and inspiration to people. We are highly skilled in something. It doesn’t mean you are a good person.”

On the demise of WUSA: “We were in love with the women’s soccer team. The girls were great athletes and smart and nice and all of America embraced them. What happened? The women didn’t fail. Management failed. Big difference.”

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