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Women on the Sidelines

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs Assistant coach Becky Hammon (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The last guy I would be likely to defend is Mike Francesa, a popular and successful sports radio talk show host in New York.  He is often condescending and abrasive, rarely ever acknowledges he’s wrong and can be a bully when it comes to his opinions with callers.  He’s also caught up in a mini controversy over recent comments he made when responding to a question that a woman will never be a head coach in one of the four major men’s pro sports.  While never is a long time I don’t disagree with the statement.

This is not about women’s rights or denying them the opportunity but rather more likely common sense.  In most cases coaches rise through the ranks, starting on the high school or college level and work their way up as an assistant before becoming a head coach.  This does not include those who go right from player to coach which does occur in many cases.

The bottom line is the path to being a head coach usually includes working as an assistant at a fairly high level and the only two women I can think of right now that meet the criteria are assistants in the NBA: Becky Hammon with San Antonio and Nancy Lieberman with Sacramento.  Would it be sexist of me to say I don’t see either of them becoming a head coach in the league?

I will admit that basketball is the one sport where the breakthrough could take place because there is a pro league (WNBA) and also very successful women head coaches on the major college level. That scenario does not apply to the NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball and in my wildest imagination I can’t see a women head coach or manager in any of those sports.

Of course who would have thought we could fly in airplanes, land a man on the moon, have a hand-held device that could do just about anything or elect a woman as President of the United States.

Oh wait a second that last one didn’t happen but it likely will before we see a female on an NFL sideline.

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