by Andy Weston
Imagine your favorite football team wearing only shoulder pads, a helmet and a pair of shorts.
This would appear dangerous, inconsiderate and just plain asinine. Well, these are the conditions provided to the players of the Legends Football League.
The LFL is an all-female football league that used to be known as the Lingerie Football League. The Lingerie Bowl was put on during the Super Bowl in the mid-2000s. The League was then rebranded with the Legends moniker in 2013.
When the rebranding occurred, the athletes were reportedly provided “uniforms” in place of the lingerie they used to wear. These accommodations include a sports-style bra and booty shorts — hardly what anyone would call an improvement.
The women who take part in this league are primarily made up of former collegiate athletes and former athletes from other sports clubs. They possess the talent to be taken seriously as football players, and there is no reason they shouldn’t be treated as well as other athletes.
Just to be clear, the LFL is a full-contact league. The players are out there taking hits and being thrown to the ground. The NFL provides each of its players thigh pads, a tailbone pad, knee pads and rib guards. This equipment has been upgraded over the years and is required due to ever-growing concerns of injury.
Meanwhile, the women of the LFL are playing in less equipment than the athletes of the first Super Bowl.
On top of this ridiculous disregard for their safety, they must also meet other outlandish requirements like going to tanning salons in order to achieve what is deemed a satisfactory skin tone. For some reason, I can’t think of a single male athlete who was kicked off the team for not being tan enough.
Female athletics is not something to be ridiculed or laughed at. Women compete in every form of sporting event at a level that far exceeds any of the recliner-dwelling, beer bellied oafs who champion this sort of treatment.
Perhaps the saddest part of this entire situation is that these women have no other outlet to present their skill in the sport of football. There are no other leagues that match the kind of recognition gained through the LFL.
If a woman wants to play in a league that has the kind of funding the LFL has, she has to suit up in a scantily-clad uniform and prance onto the field in order to express her athleticism. And of course, appease men with the minds of pubescent teens.
In a day and age when you can see any kind of ridiculous, disturbing thing you want on the Internet, why are we as a society so content with using athletes as sexual outlets for a male fantasy when all that’s sought is some level of equality when participating in an American pastime?
If the Lifetime television network decided to air the Speedo bowl and have buff guys run around in banana-hammocks, wrestling each other to the ground, I would be willing to bet more than a few men would be rolling their eyes and telling their wives how ridiculous it is.
Now, I’m no saint myself. I’ve seen every episode of “Married with Children” at least once and told more than my fair share of Helen Keller jokes, but we live in a time where the Puppy Bowl is getting more respectful attention than a female football league.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I see something wrong with that.