An Open Letter to ESPN’s David Pollack (Commentary)

Regarding Dr. Condoleeza Rice and Women in Sports

College Gameday

Mr. Pollack,

Your statement about wanting people on the College Football Playoff selection committee who “eat, sleep, and breathe” the sport is both ignorant and revealing. You are of course entitled to your opinion, sir. I am equally entitled to challenge opinions so publicly voiced.

May I ask, Mr. Pollack, what qualifies a person for this committee? Have you been invited to join this committee? You apparently have no idea just how far former Secretary Rice will go to watch football. While you were busy chewing on your foot, did you miss the spot on NFL Network where Rice tells the story of how she got up in the middle of the night overseas to watch a game?

Have you somehow failed to notice the many females currently reporting sports? Should Michele Tafoya hang up her mic and vacate the sideline? Should Samantha Ponder apply herself to a different career? By your reckoning, these women, since they have never played football, are not qualified for their positions.

Perhaps what you should instead attempt to accurately convey is the core of your objection to Rice’s possible appointment to the committee, that being your perception that she has little to no “connection” to the game. I must inquire Mr. Pollack: Who are you to say what Rice’s connections are to football? Have you discussed it with her?

Your statements lead one to believe that you spoke from the hip on this matter. This was not a wise course of action in your line of work, considering you have no delete button. The words you have spoken live before a national audience cannot be unsaid. The notion you have put forth cannot be edited from the minds of viewers. Never mind the fact that you work very closely with Ponder, a woman who happens to be a sportscaster; a woman who is around sports and can report on sports, from tape, not paper, as you requested.

Let me advise you, sir, that I, as a mother and a writer, do in fact eat, sleep and breathe football. I am the Senior Sports Editor at the Las Vegas Guardian Express, the only female sports editor on the paper, and all of my male counterparts know that I know my stuff.

While college football has never been of interest to me, I have spent my entire life watching and learning the nuances of professional football, and I challenge you sir, to find a fan of similar caliber –male or female- who would not qualify to do your job given the resources you undoubtedly have at hand.

My love of football fuels my desire for knowledge of the game. My ability to intelligently report on football does not come from research done by others and handed to me. I do not have teleprompters to supply stats and background information. I know what I know because I am dedicated to the sport and I make every effort to find out what I don’t know.

Perhaps you have the same work ethic. I have no way of knowing.

Just as you have no way of knowing the depth and breadth of Condoleeza Rice’s college football knowledge.

Respectfully yours,

Brandi Tasby

A Woman in Sports & Lifetime Football Fan

Pollack on ESPN

Women in Sports