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.
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.