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ESPN’s Nine for IX reinforces value of Title IX

ESPN’s Nine for IX reinforces value of Title IX
By: Monica DeLuca
Staff Writer

On ESPN this summer, they have been showing a documentary called “Nine for IX” based on Title IX and how it has positively impacted female athletes and female sports journalists. For those of you who do not know what Title IX is, it states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…” Our Congress passed this law on June 23, 1972.

Growing up in the ’90s, we took this law for granted, unaware of the struggles that women had gone through to gain some sort of equality in sports. If I wanted to play soccer for my middle school team, I could, and my team and the boys’ soccer team would be treated equally. This treatment included similar locker rooms, financial equality in travel expenses and uniforms and social equality in issues of harassment.

This documentary helps girls and boys of my generation to realize just how much progress has occurred in sports and how much more we still need to change today. The program was made in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX being passed. Each episode was an hour long and it honored a specific female athlete or female journalist who has overcome her obstacles.

All of the episodes are produced by women and are about women. They also never entirely point out that Title IX was the reason behind their success.

The latest story I watched was called “The 99ers” which was about the women’s soccer team that won the World Cup against China in 1999. The footage was unlike any other sports footage as it was taped by one of the players, a true behind the scenes story of the team showing before, during and after the big game. This episode really emphasized sportsmanship and being a true team player.

Another episode called, “The Runner,” about Olympic runner Mary Decker showed how the fame went to her head and sportsmanship went out the window. When Decker was trying for her first time to win the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics for the 3000 meter run, she ended up tripping and injuring herself, evidently not able to win the medal or even finish the race. In the documentary, she explains to the press afterward that she would have pushed the girl, Zola Budd, who tripped her (by accident) “but if I had pushed her tomorrow the headlines would have read ‘Decker shoves Zola’.”

I enjoyed the episode about female sports journalists because the footage was done in interview style and the women who had been some of the first in the field were looking back and telling  their stories. They each spoke about a similar issue where they were not allowed into the men’s locker room right after a game like the other men sports journalists were which caused a lot of controversy. The title of the episode, “Let Them Wear Towels,” was also the solution to the so-called issue at hand in the ’70s and ’80s. If it was that big of a deal that a woman with the same journalism credentials as a man could not go into the locker room to interview the players, then why could they not wear towels or get dressed before anyone came in to interview them?

Evidently, in the ’70s and ’80s this problem was more about how men refused to give female journalists equal access to athletes as male journalists. They needed access to the players as soon as they got off the field to capture emotions, which would help them to interview the athletes and write a story on a deadline.

Each woman in this documentary is extraordinary at what she does and truly believes in herself and the people around her. If you want to check out any of these videos, they are broadcasted on ESPN and are summarized online at

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ESPN’s Nine for IX reinforces value of Title IX