Andrea Kremer addresses students at Boston University’s College of Communication last April.
Without Title IX, Philadelphia native Andrea Kremer might have held the title of career lawyer, she says.
We could see her arguing that case. Here, the HBO “Real Sports” reporter and former ESPN and NBC NFL sideline reporter explains:
When I was growing up, loving and learning all I could about sports, it never occurred to me that I could turn this passion into a career. Why? Because when I was growing up, I DIDN’T EXIST.
I reiterate, I DIDN’T EXIST.
There were no women in sports I could look to and say, ‘I want to do what she does.’ No role models to inspire me. I loved sports but I was going to be a lawyer.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the bar (as in, exam).
I started to find a way and an outlet to meld my passion for sports into real work. My first job in this business was 1982 and I was the sports editor of the largest weekly paper in Pennsylvania, my home state. To say I was an anomaly and a curiosity may be an understatement. Back then, in covering the Philadelphia Eagles, women were not allowed in the lockerroom on non gamedays. I had to get special dispensation to interview a player going to his first Pro Bowl on the Monday after the season ended.
Slowly but surely, women became more commonplace and accepted in the lockerroom, press boxes, on a byline, holding a microphone. One of the main reasons for the growing acceptance and proliferation of women in sports media: Title IX.
Obviously we know that the legislation is not just about athletics — the law addresses areas ranging from sexual harassment to math and science. But since I had more aptitude for breaking down protection schemes than using a protractor, I view the importance of Title IX through the prism of how it changed the perception of women involved in sports, be it soccer or sportscasting.
It expanded the possibilities for women in sports, forced open doors and allowed us to prove we belonged. I’ve always felt that opportunity is great but it’s what you make of it. I have been the first female hired at virtually every job I’ve held.
Would that have ever been possible without Title IX legislation? I’m so glad I’ll never have to find out.
But one of my favorite stories surrounding Title IX has nothing to do with my upward mobility in the sports business. It was 1997 and I was doing a story for ESPN on the 25th anniversary of the legislation. Two of the central voices in the story were Evelyn Ashford and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. These were two of the most interesting, intelligent, inspirational people I have met on or off the field. They are the real recipients of the monumental shift Title IX provided and their athletic feats stand the test of time.
Over a 30 year career, I have always been asked who are the people I’ve met that impressed me the most? These female track and field legends — because of what they overcame and accomplished — make me even more proud to be a women involved in sports.