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‘Let Them Wear Towels’ Examines Gender Equity In Sports Reporting

Robin Herman, sports writer for the New York Times, is confronted by Chicago Black Hawks doorman Gordon Robertson outside the Black Hawks dressing room at Chicago, Jan. 24, 1975. Robertson kept Miss Herman from interviewing Black Hawks players until Chicago Black Hawks coach Billy Reay felt the team was presentable. Black Hawks won against New York Islanders, 3-1. (AP Photo)

Robin Herman, sports writer for the New York Times, is confronted by Chicago Black Hawks doorman Gordon Robertson outside the Black Hawks dressing room at Chicago, Jan. 24, 1975. Robertson kept Miss Herman from interviewing Black Hawks players until Chicago Black Hawks coach Billy Reay felt the team was presentable. Black Hawks won against New York Islanders, 3-1. (AP Photo)

Four decades ago, there was a protracted battle over whether female sports journalists should have access to athletes in the locker rooms like their male colleagues.

Eventually, after court rulings and a few open-minded team managers, they gained access. Many have faced vitriolic comments in the process about their gender and some vitriolic comments remain today about female sports journalists.

A new documentary by ESPN, “Let Them Wear Towels,” details the struggle for equality among female sports journalists. The documentary airs Tuesday night as part of the “Nine for Nine” documentary series, examining women in sports as part of the 40th anniversary of Title Nine, the law requiring women get equal opportunity in sports.

Guest

Melissa Ludtke, a former reporter for Sports Illustrated covering baseball who sued for equal access to players in the locker rooms in 1977.

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