Thursday, February 21, 2008

I can't believe I have to write this post...

C'mon! It's 2008! Can you even stand that I have to write about overt and public gender bias, and it is a current event??? In a year when we have a woman seriously running for president, and the event happened in a state that is led by a wildly popular female governor. A state that, when there were only two women in the US Senate, boasted one of them.

In case you missed it, there was a boys basketball game at a Catholic high school near Topeka, Kansas that has been in all the papers lately. The Athletic Director refused to allow a female referee to call a game because, it was reported at the time, it would put boys in the position of being subservient to a woman.

I kid you not.
In a case its executive director is calling unprecedented, the Kansas State High School Activities Association is looking into the Feb. 2 incident that has roiled and rallied many other sports officials.

The game was at St. Mary’s Academy, a private religious school that sits on a sprawling campus about 25 miles northwest of Topeka. Before the game started, a school administrator approached Campbell’s officiating partner, Darin Putthoff of Topeka, and told him a woman could not serve as referee.

That would be putting a woman in a position of authority over boys, he was told — a scenario that was contrary to beliefs at St. Mary’s Academy.

“I was upset,” Putthoff said. “So I said, ‘You’re telling me you don’t have any teachers at the school who are women?’ ”

But it gets better! The school with the high moral standards wasn't above duplicity in attempting to slide a replacement in without attracting attention. They contacted another referee who was on site and asked him to officiate the game, telling him there was an "emergency."
For Fred Shockey, the message that came from the school that day was far different.

A basketball official who lives in Wamego, Kan., Shockey worked two games at St. Mary’s just before Campbell’s game. He was getting ready to leave when the school’s athletic director approached him and said there had been an emergency.

The school needed Shockey to stay and referee another game. Reluctantly, Shockey agreed to do so — until he found out what the emergency was.

Both Putthoff and Shockey were offended at the overt discrimination, and walked off the court with Campbell, refusing to work the game. “I said, ‘There’s no way I’m staying,’ ” Shockey said. “I kept going, ‘Wow. Wow.’ I was so disgusted.”

Well, finally the headmaster has commented, and he is attempting to back away from the "authority over boys" reasoning...just not too far. The Rev. Vicente A. Griego said in a prepared statement that the “formation of adolescent boys is best accomplished by male role models, as the formation of girls is best accomplished by women. Hence in boys’ athletic competitions, it is important that the various role models (coaches and referees) be men.”

Now, I realize that the school is owned by the Society of St. Pius X, which formed in the decade after the Vatican II council loosened up the rules on Catholics in the modern era a bit. Society members apparently think that Vatican II was a liberal conspiracy and the beginning of the end. But c'mon! Society isn't going to turn back the clock for a few ultra-conservative whackjobs, whether they be Catholics in Kansas or Taliban in Afghanistan.

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