Tony Colombo, Colomb & Katie
Alyssa Nakken is in the headlines because she could be the first female manager in MLB history. An important story worth reporting for sure, but also an opportunity to discuss a larger issue that should’ve been resolved a long time ago.
About Nakken specifically, I think if she’s the best coach available, she should get the job. But I also think discussing if, or how, a woman coaching a group of men is appropriate and not something that we should all pretend doesn’t matter.
I know there are MANY men that coach women’s teams, but now more than ever we look at various jobs and organizations and factor in sex and gender where we haven’t in the past. People ask things like, “How could a man relate to/understand/manage a group of women better than a woman?” or question if a white person would be appropriate/effective in a management or supervision role with a group of black people or Hispanic people.
(Note: The Word Doc auto-corrected that last sentence to capitalize “Hispanic people” but not “white person” or “black people”, I’m leaving it like that because it highlights my whole freaking point)
I personally believe it’s good we’re asking those questions, but we all need to decide. Are things like race and gender important factors that we openly discuss, or do they not matter, and we ignore them?
I think they ARE relevant. I don’t think it’s absolute, but I very much believe that those factors are relevant to these discussions. But that means they are relevant across the board. You can’t make the argument that a woman would be more understanding and effective coaching a female gymnastics team, but label someone who brings up gender in the Giants story a sexist.
Gender and race either ARE relevant, or they’re NOT relevant, not whatever works for you in the moment. Again, I don’t believe they’re the absolute decider, but they are important factors that are appropriate to discuss.
And by the way, we should’ve moved on from this a long time ago. Sadly, like with so many other things, the fear of being labeled or canceled by trolls on the internet stops us from having a productive conversation that ultimately leads to understanding and unity. They stoke conflict and division because understanding and unity puts them out of a job. And unfortunately, they are very good at their job.