“Bullies” and different standards

Late in the Tennessee-Tennessee Martin game that just ended a short time ago, ESPN commentator Brooke Weisbrod made a remark that has stirred some controversy. Vol forward Glory Johnson spun around under the basket to make a shot, and before she did so, she elbowed her defender to gain some position. Weisbrod called Johnson “a bully” for the move. And as ESPN rewound the tape to show the moment again, Weisbrod added, “that’s just not necessary.”

It didn’t look like much to me – a slight jab to get room. (I’ve seen so much worse in my decades of watching hoops.) But neither did Johnson’s throwing-of-the-ball during the Feb. 13 game against Kentucky that earned her a controversial technical foul.

Johnson is a very aggressive player who is not afraid to get in there and bang. I had to wonder today, would Weisbrod have said anything if Johnson were a male? Because I see men’s basketball players making similar moves all the time.

Is Johnson a “bully,” or simply a take-no-prisoners player?

Are female basketball players who play aggressively, judged?


  1. Basketball under the basket is a contact sport. It's part of the game and most every successful post has to have an aggressive streak or they will find themselves on the losing end of things. It's up to the refs to call a good game, keep it under control, but allow for the invetable contact that will happen underneath.

    The women's game is more physical under the bucket since they don't jump as high as the men. Seems counter-intuitive, but true.

  2. Yep.

    Men's is just as aggressive under the basket, but in a different way. Whenever I watch a high school or college men's game, it looks like popcorn to me, the way they pop and jump.

  3. They key is they can jump above the fray and it limits type bumps and shoves that you see among the women. Both are physical games, but the women's physicality remains more ground-based. Popcorn is a great description of the men's game. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Glory is not a subtle player. She leaves her heart out there under the basket, and visibly plays hard. She gets hammered all game long and hardly any fouls are called on her opponents. She has had to fight under the basket for her team all season and to call her a bully is ridiculous and cruel. Announcers should know the difference between hard play and dirty play.

  5. NAT!!

    Outstanding response. Bullseye. Bingo.

    You know how fair I am, but I wanted to let someone else say it, lest I be considered a homer.

    "Announcers should know the difference between hard play and dirty play" is the key concept here.

    Thanks for posting.

  6. defensively, glory reminds me a lot of catch. catch isn't what you'd call a dirty player, but when it comes to rebounding, she doesn't play with a lot of finesse. ๐Ÿ™‚ but i don't think its any secret that glory has some very sharp elbows. ๐Ÿ˜‰