9-Year-Old Female Football Player Breaking Barriers

BY LORI RAUDIO

Sam Gordon has taken the Internet and the media by storm in the past few weeks. The 9-year-old made waves with a YouTube video featuring her highlights as a running back in an all boys league. These include 35 touchdowns, 65 tackles, and over 2,000 rushing yards. Since the video went viral, Sam has had thousands of articles written about her and appeared on “Good Morning America” and “SportsCenter.”

In a sports world typically dominated by males, Sam just might be breaking some barriers. As the article “Sam Gordon, Girl Football Player, Stars In Ridiculous Highlight Reel” in the Huffington Post noted, most girl football players have been limited to the position of kicker. Sam, however, is challenging gender roles in a big way. Her talent could be a big step in gaining more ground for equality in sports and its media coverage.

Her interview on “Sportscenter” was conducted in an impressive way. Host Hannah Storm asked Sam interesting and appropriate questions, even prompting Sam to say she hopes girls will get to play in the NFL one day. I was surprised ESPN featured Sam’s story in such a positive way, encouraging her to continue to play football and praising her as role model for other girls.

Not everyone agrees with Sam being allowed to play football. The article “Nine-Year-Old Girl Sam Gordon Shredding Defenses to the Tune of 25 Touchdowns” by Eric Adelson on Yahoo Sports questions Sam’s safety. He writes, “Is it appropriate? This is a 9-year-old girl playing against bigger, stronger boys.” He later goes on to say, “A lot of people won’t accept a 9-year-old girl playing tackle football, and perhaps with good reason.”

There are still many hurdles to girls being fully accepted in sports and achieving equal coverage in the media. Girls such as Sam Gordon are helping to pave the way. One day, we just may see girls like Sam highlighted regularly on “Sportscenter.”

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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