I’m On TV And You’re Not

John Steigerwald Contributor
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Talk about waking up on third base and thinking you hit a triple, how about that Britt McHenry?

Maybe you’ve seen the video that sent Britt on a quick and eternal trip to Internet hell. She’s been working for ESPN as a reporter for a little over a year, but it wasn’t one of her typically vapid reports that got her in trouble.

It was a video that showed the world what an entitled, arrogant snob she really is.

Apparently a towing company had the nerve to respond to a call and tow her car from a parking lot in Arlington, Va. A security video caught her taking it out on the clerk.

Here are some of the money quotes: “I’m on television and you’re in a f-ing trailer, honey.”

I’ve worked in television for more than 30 years and was exposed to some gigantic egos, but I can honestly say I never heard anybody use the “I’m on TV and you’re not” line on someone.

Then she reminded the woman of the differences in their education: “That’s why I have a degree and you don’t.”

And, of course, she let the lowly clerk know what an awful job she had: “I would never work in a scum bag place like this.”

McHenry is 28 years old and has a masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Based on her comments, she apparently believes her degree and her many years of experience were as much a factor as her looks in landing a job with ESPN.

She works for a network that has set the feminist cause back decades by hiring an army of women, who, while competent, would not have gotten a foot in the door for a job interview if not for their looks.

You’ll know ESPN is hiring women for their expertise when they start hiring women who look like Chris Berman and John Clayton. That’s not to say that there aren’t women who are good looking and competent. But only someone afraid of the PC police or protecting their job at ESPN would deny the value of good looks when it comes to hiring female sportscasters.

McHenry lamented the overemphasis on a woman’s appearance in a blog post a while back because of the use of an almost naked woman in a cheeseburger commercial: “When so many females fight for gender equality and in pay and opportunity — still to this day in 2015 — an advertisement like that only sets women back generations.”

“Women can be comfortable in their own skin…Be the woman with a voice, not the sexed up body without one.”

And this quote from the viral video: “Lose some weight, baby girl.”

After the video went viral on Thursday, McHenry became 10 times more famous than she was on Wednesday, but in none of the media reports about her did I see any reference to a brilliant observation she had made, commentary she had done or story she had broken that skyrocketed her to network stardom.

That’s because she’s not working at ESPN because of her masters degree, her unique reporting style or her special insight. She’s there because she’s, first and foremost, really good looking.

And that’s okay, looks always have and always will be a major factor in being paid to be on television and it is possible to be really good looking and really good on the air, which she may be, but, when you are a woman and walk off a college campus into a sports job working for a station in a Top 10 market, chances are pretty good that you weren’t hired because of your degree or for your mind.

I don’t have the numbers, but I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of young sports reporters whose first jobs are in large TV markets or at a network are good looking females.

There aren’t a lot of chubby 25-year old men covering major events for any of the sports networks.

Sounds harsh. Sounds sexist, I know, but you would have a hard time finding an honest person, who knows anything about sports television in 2015, to disagree.

If you have a list of 20-something, ordinary looking males working as sideline reporters, I’d love to see it.

Britt McHenry shouldn’t be fired. She has paid a huge personal price for her little tirade and social media has made it too easy for people who love to see a celebrity crash and burn for one violation.

Just remember, the next time you see Britt McHenry back at work on ESPN, she’s on TV and you’re not.

Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com