Thanks for Nothing, ESPN: The Exploitation of Erin Andrews

Patrick Cwiklinski@@patcwiklinskiCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2009

Okay, so by now most of you are familiar with the Erin Andrews video scandal that is currently rearing its ugly head around the world of sports.

No? Well if you aren't, here's a quick rundown.

Andrews is an American sportscaster who works for ESPN as a sideline reporter for various sporting events. It also just so happens that Andrews is a strikingly attractive woman who was named as the sexiest sportscaster in the United States by Playboy Magazine last year.

Yes, there is a list.

Andrews has recently found herself as the subject of a voyeuristic video filmed by a Peeping Tom that was released onto the Internet that showed the 31-year-old walking around naked in her hotel room.

The video had apparently been available to watch on the Internet for months before Andrews even had any knowledge of it being filmed. However, only in the past week or so the video skyrocketed in popularity and soon became one of the top searches on Google, leaving Andrews out in the cold to try and fend for herself.

In a statement released by Andrews' lawyer it said "While alone in the privacy of her hotel room, Erin Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped without her knowledge or consent."

And that's exactly what it comes down to, privacy.

The bottom line is that a woman was deprived of her privacy and forced to become the centerpiece of a video that she would have never been in if it hadn't been for that line being crossed.

Or at least that's what the network would like you to believe.

It goes without saying that what the individual who filmed Andrews did was absolutely disgusting and heinous but the more I looked into the entire ordeal, the more I found out about the truth behind female sportscasters and their employers.

The first thing was to examine ESPN's roster of female sportscasters because there was no recollection in my mind of there being any unattractive women behind the microphone. After looking at it on an even a broader spectrum, there were none that I could remember working at any sports network at any time.

A disturbing trend that raised a question.

Is Andrews working at ESPN because of her savvy sports sense or because she is quite simply, as chauvinistic as it may sound, eye candy for the male population that makes up the majority of the viewership?

If Andrews can truthfully look at herself in the mirror and say to herself, "I have this job because I am the most qualified person to do this job and I do not have it because of the way I look," then there ceases to be a problem.

But as soon as she starts second-guessing why she's there, then maybe she has the job for the wrong reasons.

There's nothing wrong with being attractive on television, actually quite to the contrary, it's a massive part of being in the limelight and there's nothing that can really change that outlook nor necessarily should it. But as soon as having good looks come before actually being  at your job, call me old-fashioned but something is wrong with that picture.

And that's not to say that Andrews is some kind of ditsy sportscaster by any means; it's just an observation of the type of women these networks are targeting to work their programs because she could very well be just as smart in her field as she is pretty.

It still, however, remains too much of a coincidence that most of the female sportscasters in the industry today resemble models much more than female equivalents of Chris Berman.

At the end of the day Andrews is still a victim, but as much as she is a victim of the person who decided to film her in her hotel room, she is also a victim of exploitation, the exploitation of female sportscasters by the big sports networks that should be held at least somewhat accountable for creating something that everyone wants a piece of for reasons that don't involve sports.