But before the Mississippi-Alabama game in Tuscaloosa Saturday, a Crimson Tide fan held up a sign outside Bryant-Denny Stadium stating “Ole Miss Girls Are Easier Than Their Out-Of-Conference Schedule.”
While offensive signs have been known to slip by GameDay censors, it’s rare for them to be promoted the way this one was. ESPN not only broadcast it on air, but also featured it in a tweet from the @CollegeGameDay account:
And, even with a group of smiling coeds standing around the young man's sign, the sexist message didn't sit well with just about everyone else.Just no chill. pic.twitter.com/Hn0fWwL9gF— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 19, 2015
To be fair, when the sign was shown on-air, host Rece Davis and analyst Kirk Herbstreit condemned it, with Davis saying “I can’t condone that type of behavior” and Herbstreit adding “That is unacceptable.”
However, ESPN still made the decision to show it, and ESPN spokesperson Keri Potts told CNN they wouldn’t be deleting the tweet promoting it either, saying “Our Twitter handle looks to bring the sights and sounds of the College GameDay experience to the viewer at home and reflect how the fans on site express themselves.”
But that didn't stop the Twitter backlash that was about to ensue:
@CollegeGameDay Utterly classless and embarrassing to feature this sign. What does this say about your brand? Integrity? Views on women?— Emily Wright (@EmilyCello) September 19, 2015
ESPN's somewhat misconstrued attempt to disassociate themselves from the sexist sign does not excuse them from the controversy. The network has editorial control on what signs are allowed near their set, what signs they show on air, and especially on what signs they elect to tweet out. They didn’t make this sign, but they did promote it and left it up for everyone to see.
The Boy's Club still rules.