Friday, December 31, 2010

Please Don't Bring the Lingerie Football League to Nashville

Mitchell Mortaza, commissioner of the Lingerie Football League and former Lindsey Lohan boyfriend, told 104.5's Three-Hour Lunch that there's an 80–85 percent chance an LFL franchise will be playing in Nashville by 2012. He says that Music City is a "perfect market" and that Bridgestone Arena is a "perfect venue." (Read about it in the Tennessean or at the Scene's Pith in the Wind blog.)

This is my plea to the Nashville Sports Council: Please don't bring a Lingerie Football League franchise to Middle Tennessee.

The Lingerie Football League sends a message to young female athletes that their athletic talents are secondary to their abilities to entice men and conform to narrow and warped standards of beauty. It also reinforces our culture's unfortunate tendency to treat women of a certain age and body type as little more than sexual objects. To that end, he league fines its players $500 for wearing additional undergarments that may prevent accidental nudity. The LFL also has drawn criticism for refusing to pay players' football-related medical expenses.

Mortaza responds to charges that the LFL is nothing more than sexploitation by boasting that 100 percent of the league's players are former college athletes. Great. So young women who spent years conditioning and training as volleyball players or swimmers or sprinters, and who were talented enough to play a varsity sport in college, get paid to learn a new sport and play it in their underwear. Mortaza needs to be haunted by the ghost of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

I first heard of the LFL when CNN did a story on the upstart league. The story followed a piece about two girls in South Carolina who had been successful placekickers for their high school football team. The juxtaposition of the two stories really upset me, and I wrote about it:

Placing the stories back-to-back seemed to say, "Hey girls, in high school you can work hard to make it and earn the respect of your teammates in a sport where girls traditionally have not been welcome; then, a few years later, you can continue your football career by stripping down to your underwear so that depraved men can gawk at you."

(The post from which I took this quote is the only one that appears when you search for "lingerie" on this blog. I also included the quote in my book Kneeling in the End Zone, which has climbed back into the top one million on Amazon.)

Nashville doesn't need the Lingerie Football League. Nobody does.


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