Barbara Willits was listening to a fellow school teacher in the teachers’ lounge. He was expounding upon ESPN’s dismissal of Ron Franklin on Tuesday for his remarks to fellow employee, sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards last month.
“Look, Barbara, it’s a generational, geographical disconnect.”
“Is calling someone an ‘asshole’ a generational, geographical issue, Paul? You mean to say that because he was raised in Mississippi back in the 1940’s, he has the birthright to demean women? Perhaps he shouldn’t stop with women.”
“I’m all for equality and all that stuff. I’ve worked with women for years. You and I get along, right Barbara? But women have got to realize that all Franklin was doing was kidding around. I mean, if that ESPN woman-sideline-reporter had any class, she would apologize for making an issue of it!”
“Paul, the remark was in the workplace, and that kind of thing doesn’t belong in business.”
“Business? A woman has no business being on the sidelines, in the locker room, or around male athletes. Barbara, have you ever noticed that there are no unattractive sideline reporters who are female. Why? Because they are only there to look good. Eye candy. The networks are nothing more than whores, Barbara. And, for Pete’s sake, the guy is 68 years old. He comes from a different time and place.”
“Things are different, and for the better. He also had a history. This wasn’t the first time Franklin showed his colors, Paul. He called Holly Rowe ‘Sweetheart’, on the air a few years back, when she was on the sideline, admonishing her observation in a very condescending comment. And now, he calls Jeannine Edwards ‘Sweetcakes’. C’mon, Paul, you know better than to defend this.”
“Barbara, this is a white man being lynched. How degrading this country has become. Blacks with their lawsuits, too. On and on and on. It’s bullshit. The whole world has gone down the goddam toilet. It’s a man’s game. It’s still a man’s world. Women just have to deal with that. They just can’t handle that.”
The other teachers in the lounge laughed when Paul uttered ‘degrading’.
“Apparently Franklin still thinks that way, Paul. The woman simply told Franklin that she didn’t appreciate being characterized in that way, and Franklin responded by calling her an asshole. He brought this all upon himself, Paul. This goes far beyond sexism. This is anger and bullying in the workplace. If a teacher did the same thing in this school, they would be gone as well, and you know it. I mean, if you’re tired of teaching, all you have to do is call me what you’d really like to.”
“I love you, ‘sweetheart’.” replied Paul, with a forced smile while walking out of the room. Barbara thought to herself how tough it is, even in the woman’s world of grade school teaching. She also thought how she’d like to kill the sunavabitch.