As the UConn women's basketball team tries to set the all-time NCAA basketball record for consecutive victories tonight against Florida State, coach Geno Auriemma has a message:
"I know there would not be this many people in this [press] room if we were chasing a women's record," Auriemma said after the game.
"The reason why everyone is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everyone is up in arms about it. All the women are happy as hell and can't wait to come in and ask questions.
"All the men who love women's basketball are excited, and all the miserable bastards who follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they are pissed. So that's the way it is...
"If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go, 'Aren't those girls nice.' Just give them two paragraphs in USA Today or give them one line on the bottom of ESPN, and let's send them back where they belong in the kitchen. But because we are breaking a men's record, we have a lot of people paying attention."
First of all, Auriemma actually said this when UConn beat Ohio State on Sunday to notch its 88th consecutive victory, tying the record set by John Wooden's UCLA Bruins from 1971-1974. This is not a fabricated quote.
Second of all, it's completely unjustified and flat-out wrong.
Some people believe Auriemma was trying to drum up controversy and headlines before the big game tonight against Florida State.
I actually think he was serious. And it stands to actually facilitate less respect for Auriemma than what he deserves.
Sure, there are some people out there that are "pissed" that the women are breaking the men's record, but that's not why the UConn women are making headlines.
They are making headlines because they earned it, and they are making headlines because they could break the all-time NCAA basketball record, not because they are simply breaking a men's record.
Throughout the entire streak, Auriemma has been the picture of class and excellence. Why stop now?
He does have reason to be upset by the lack of coverage, but he took it too far. Men's basketball draws a bigger crowd than women's—it's that simple. Regardless of how you feel about women's basketball, there isn't going to be as much coverage based on the simple fact that it draws a smaller audience.
Auriemma should be pleased with the influx of coverage he is receiving now, not combative of it.
The nation is recognizing an unbelievable feat by the UConn women, and he is spitting on them for doing so.
Above all, bringing up the negative stereotype of women belonging "in the kitchen" is completely uncalled for. The nation is recognizing the UConn women for their excellence on the basketball court and nothing else. Why bring this up?
If Auriemma means what he says, he loses credibility in my eyes. If he's simply trying to conjure up more buzz for UConn, he loses more.
The UConn women didn't need this. They've already proven themselves.
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