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Let’s Talk About Hypocrisy In Sports

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of men and women being treated differently in the world of sports. Women have to work too hard to earn the recognition they deserve, while this isn’t so much of an issue for male athletes. Female athletes find themselves fighting for equitable salaries, television coverage, sponsorships, security, and hundreds of other athletic benefits that are simply handed to men.

These inequities feel intentional at this point, considering that nothing has been done to address them. This article was inspired by the actions (and inaction) that occurred at a Chelsea F.C. match on December 8. A field invader stormed the pitch of a high-profile female soccer match in Norbiton, England, in order to take a selfie with the Chelsea captain, Magdalena Eriksson. The game paused while the players on the pitch waited for security to intervene and detain the trespasser. However, the man was seemingly allowed to roam freely and little was done by security to get the man off the field.

This is where Sam Kerr comes in. Kerr plays for both Chelsea F.C. and the Australia Women’s National Team where she shines brightly as an impressive forward.

As a result of the lack of response from stadium security, Kerr took matters into her own hands and leveled the field invader to the ground. This gave the slow-moving security time to detain the man in order to resume the match. Cheers from the crowd ensued because of Kerr’s actions and she was praised for the initiative taken.

However, this act of bravery and fearlessness begs more questions. Why didn’t anyone do anything? What was taking security so long? Would this have been an issue at a men’s soccer match? Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to that one.

For reasons unbeknownst to most, Kerr was dealt a yellow card for interacting with the field invader. This created an uproar in the women’s soccer community as fans around the world disagreed strongly with this punishment. But here’s the real kicker. Days after the incident, it was released that the man would not be criminally charged for his actions. This was a confusing statement because it is known that pitch invasion is an arrestable offense that comes along with a hefty fine.

The United Kingdom, where the match was played, does not consider female sporting events to be “designated matches.” So, because of this legal clause, the trespasser was not charged because female sports are not high-profile enough to enact certain legalities.

Fans and players alike are grateful that the incident didn’t create an unsafe situation for anyone involved. However, minimal security and lack of consequence should not be the status quo for female athletics.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These unbalanced expectations occur across all levels of every sport and are not likely to change anytime soon. However, individuals and teams such as Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, and the U.S. women’s hockey team are leading the charge to acknowledge the underrepresentation of female athletes and create change. It’s time to rally behind them and support their efforts to close gender pay gaps and address all of the shortcomings that female athletes experience.

Keeley is a first-year journalism major from Richmond, Va. and is one of Her Campus at Penn State's associate editors. She is a lover of grilled cheese, sports, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to discuss the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley.
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