Can We Talk about the SI Sports”person” of the Year Award?
I’m deviating from my usual weekly format again this week because I really need to get something off my chest.
As Disco Biscuit wrote about in her December 5th update, JJ Watt and Jose Altuve are the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson(s) of the Year for 2017. According to this post by the editors of Sports Illustrated, the purpose of the award is to showcase, “Athletes who care” – more on that in a bit.
First off all, I’m not sure why both Altuve AND Watt needed to win this. It should have been one or the other, not both, but I digress…
I’m also not sure why S.I. felt the need to change the word “sportsman” to “sportsperson”. It’s a specific word with a specific meaning – and in this case using the word sportsman – as defined by dictionary.com as, “a man who engages in sports”, would have been relevant and accurate because the winners are men.
Had S.I. chosen to give Maya Moore the award (who was also very deserving, mind you) then they could have just as well put “Sportswoman of the Year” on the cover and been just as accurate and precise in doing so.
Let’s Look At It Another Way
Dictionary.com provides a second definition for the words sportsman, “a person who exhibits qualities especially esteemed in those who engage in sports, as fairness, courtesy, good temper,etc.”
In other words, “Athletes who care”.
Also, did you notice it said “person”?
That’s because in most cases the word sportsman, and thus the words sportsmanship, has nothing to do with gender.
If WNBA star (and female athlete) Diana Taurasi knocked down fellow WNBA star Sue Bird on a strong drive to the hoop, and then after the play reached down to help her up, the announcer wouldn’t say she displayed good sportswomanship, they would say she showed good sportsmanship.
But don’t take my word for it, I asked Google and Dictionary.com to define it for me and this is what they returned:
So while I’m all for inclusion and sensitivity in today’s world (and if you’ve ever listened to me on the radio, you know both of those to be true) there’s a point where we as human be…sorry huperson beings, can take it too far.
SEE HOW STUPID THAT SOUNDS!