It’s Taurasi, not a double-standard

The Phoenix Mercury were in Seattle Monday night playing the Storm in game three of the Western Conference semifinals. With 6:38 to go in the game, Mercury forward Diana Taurasi fouled out of the game. She walked towards her bench yelling over and over, “F*&% that s*&%! F*&% that s*&%!” She was assessed a technical foul – her second of the post-season (she had six in the regular season this year).

The eight-year veteran received criticism for her behavior on social media outlets, like twitter. I was one of them. I called her classless.

Today my friend Ben York’s piece defending Taurasi ran on slamonline.com. Ben feels like there’s a double-standard with fans between female and male athletes. He maintains that NBA players do the same kinds of things Taurasi did the other night, and nary a word is said. WNBA ballers, on the other hand, are criticized. Here’s the meat of his argument, to me:

So, knowing this, why should our reactions to the tempers of women’s basketball players be any different? Why, when they have a heated reaction, are people shocked and almost offended? Are we just more conditioned to men getting angry? Are women held to a higher standard? A different standard? Are they not supposed to get mad or frustrated?

I understand playing the “role model” card. Certainly, there are times when the line is crossed. But it bothers me that WNBA players are so quickly judged.

I understand where Ben is coming from, believe me. I was the most heady of rebels when I was a teen. I despised the concept of “ladylike” that my mother talked about, so everything she deemed as such, I did the opposite. Open-mouth burping? Check. Torn up jeans? Most def.

To be sure, female athletes are judged more harshly than males on appearance. It gets back to that whole ladylike BS. But I don’t see the judging on game-like displays as lacking parity.

Take former Notre Dame forward Devereaux Peters. As the Irish were beating UConn in the NCAA Final Four last April, Peters would scream at the top of her lungs after she made a shot. She would nod her head, and usually end with a chest bump with whomever was closest. I didn’t hear anyone criticize that display.

Likewise, I don’t hear any talk when technicals are accrued by players over the WNBA season. Like Ben said, it’s a part of the game.

I can only speak for myself, but this isn’t about a double-standard when it comes to Diana Taurasi. I don’t even watch the NBA, or men’s college ball, so I have no idea how they act. The issue for me is that Taurasi is a repeat offender with her bad behavior, and it’s ruined any chance I’ve had of enjoying her tremendous game.

Besides garnering six techs this season, Taurasi is the league fouls leader. She also has more technicals than anyone else, by far.

Last year Taurasi was the second-leading foul-getter, and again lead in techs. One of those was collected when she threw an elbow that broke a player’s nose.

In 2009, Taurasi tied for the most techs with five. In 2008 she had a whopping eight technical fouls.

I don’t like the way Taurasi has spit on the courts of other teams, including the Seattle Storm, which is the team of her friend Sue Bird. I don’t like how Taurasi will stand on the court, five feet out from the bench, during the game. Nor do I care for her campaigning to the refs all the time. But it’s the screaming cursing that turns me off the most.

I can certainly understand being irritated at the referees; God knows WNBA officiating is not the best. But to scream and cuss all the time? Taurasi is going to be 30 years old next year.

She is a hell of a player – there is no doubt. Diana Taurasi is one of the best in the WNBA.

But again, speaking just for myself, my not appreciating her actions Monday night isn’t a double-standard. I’m just tired of the act.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with you & am tired of her bad behavior. In addition to her tirades/cursing/whining, I also feel she's a dirty player. The elbow she threw which broke Jessica Davenports nose was intentional & equivalent to Brittany Griners punch.

  2. I was at the game and watched as DT went off…all of it about 5 feet from a young girl in the first row behind Phoenix's bench and I was one of people calling for a fine at the minimum/suspension as a maximum on Twitter. A few points I want to get across:

    A) I couldn't care less about the NBA and what the players do (unless it is an illegal activity such as rape!) I don't watch nor like the NBA (mostly because of how the players act!)

    B) Considering the WNBA is marketed toward children and families I'd say that there is ZERO comparison to the NBA (less $$, family atmosphere, super short seasons, etc.)

    C) Has sportsmanship completely died? Spitting on opposing courts? Wow…what a child.

    Her display is completely opposite to what the WNBA has been marketing for years. You would think it'd be in their best interest to show the players, by making DT an example, that this behavior will NOT be tolerated.

    Great player or not she needs to up her own personal standards and exceed what the WNBA expects.

  3. Some of us don't appreciate excessive swearing, dirty play, and an attitude of the-rules-don't-apply-to-me from ANY athlete, male or female. I'm not a prude. I understand it when someone lets loose with a curse when in pain or angry. A CURSE, as in one. Screaming a whole stream of profanity is a whole nother level. Taurasi's behavior has been getting worse over the past two seasons and it is beginning to taint her reputation as a great athlete. She will always have some rabid fans, but she is starting to lose other fans who are fed up with her lack of control. There are other athletes with great talent and passion who do NOT behave badly.

  4. Diana has always been a "street player"! Anything goes…in order to win. I think her former coach, Gino, likes that in a player, and that's why he recruited her. Don't cross a highly competitive person – some are "hot-heads". We've all played against this type of competitor. Is it right? Probably not, but it is what it is… I love to hate Diana Taurasi. When she goes too far, yes, she should be kicked out of games and fined. She wants to play, and will clean up her act a little bit, so that she stays out on the court. Her coach obviously, does not have much control over her. If I was the owner of the team, I would tell the coach to tell her to clean up her act. The WNBA wants to attract fans, not repel them!

  5. I think the supposed bad behavior of men's players is very much oversold in comparisons like this. Guys don't routinely spit on opponent's courts, nor do NBA players routinely stalk off the court rainly 12-letter words into the air. Yes, they posture far too much — how many more stares into the baseline camera after a dunk must we endure, for example?

    But to say that's just Diana being Diana and let it slide is nonsense. I was at a Pac-10 women's game last season, seated beyond the baseline, when one of the home team's players fumbled a pass out of bounds. "F—–!!!" she yelled and everyone around me reacted, the diehards hurt that one of their own had let out such a "bomb."

    Perhaps one thing that might cover up for men's ill-considered comments is the increased noise level from the larger crowds at their games. Otherwise, wouldn't the same game-noise mic that sends the sound of squeaking sneakers to TV viewers, also pick up all this alleged cursing.

  6. Points B and C by Kole and Anonymous brought up what I feel as well. There is "passion", then there's crossing the line into blatant bad behavior and unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Taurasi isn't the only player that swears, but she has done things I've never seen other players do. I've never seen another player swear AT fans, spit on an opposing team's court, pat refs' behinds constantly, or consistently stand 5 ft. on the court during play.

    Her behavior during WNBA games and overseas shows someone who's out of control and knows she can get away with it. And as it's been pointed out, it's been escalating for about the last 2-3 years.

    Conversely, when she's on the National Team, she's far more reserved in her actions and words because she knows USAB and the head coach (right now, Auriemma) will discipline her.

    So Taurasi knows how and when to rein it in. She just chooses NOT to during WNBA season because she knows nothing will be done by her coach, refs, Mercury organization, and WNBA for her behavior. As long as nothing is done, she WON'T change.

    As long as WNBA fans don't speak out and let the WNBA office know their feelings about this, nothing will change. Last thing they want to do is alienate what small but loyal fanbase they have.

  7. I read there was an article supporting Taurasi's actions in Game 3. I didn't even have to click on the link to know Ben York wrote it, and I was right.

    Ben York is a good writer. But many WNBA fans also know he's one of the biggest Taurasi supporters and apologists there is. In his eyes, Taurasi can do NO wrong. Too often in situations like this, he allows his personal feelings towards her override his objectivity as a reporter.

    So it's not surprising he wrote a whole article defending her actions. It's people like him that are fueling the fire of Taurasi's bad behavior. As long as she knows someone will support her and think what she does is ok, she'll continue to act badly and turn more WNBA fans against her.

  8. To clarify, I was not supporting DT's actions. I never even mentioned her name in the article. In fact, it started because multiple people accused Tamika Catchings of being dirty (and several other players) and that started the whole thought process.

  9. I have no problem with what DT does on the court. Why would you be hurt that DT of all people dropped an F bomb it's DT. Any real fans know that's how she is. What's next being shocked that Kobe dropped and F bomb too. It's not like these athletes are Jesus. I love to watch DT because she is exciting.

  10. http://www.wnba.com/media/2011_WNBA_Official_Rule_Book.pdf

    d. A technical foul shall be assessed for unsportsmanlike tactics such as:
    (1) Disrespectfully addressing an official
    (2) Physically contacting an official
    (3) Overt actions indicating resentment to a call
    (4) Use of profanity
    (5) A coach entering onto the court without permission of an official
    (6) A deliberately-thrown elbow or any attempted physical act with
    no contact involved
    (7) Taunting

    The WNBA should enforce these rules. Laurel Richie ought to forget about players' off-court clothes and pay attention to their on-court conduct.

  11. Well we complain about people not watching the womens games but after I was telling my buds about the game, they are all going to watch as they thought it was great stuff, like it or not the WNBA is a business in the entertainment field and a lot of people think it is entertaining to watch DT just as they did Barkley in his day and I have to admit I still love to watch him. Creating drama and battles above and beyond brings more interest whether the purists like it or not.

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