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Doris Burke Is Too Good For Her Job

posted by Tim Carmody   Jun 14, 2019

DorisBurke.jpg

David Remnick writes what everyone knows: “the best broadcaster in the [NBA] is Doris Burke. This has been the case now for years. There is no one remotely close.”

But because this is David Remnick, he doesn’t just do the easy job of showing how Burke outshines her ESPN/ABC colleagues Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, but also provides a mini-history of women in the press box and broadcast booth. (He even includes the transition phrase, “There is a long history to all of this.”)

“The thing is that in sportswriting the breakthroughs came at least twenty years ago and more,” [Sally] Jenkins said. “But television sports has far more trip wires than sports journalism. Sports TV is still Wall Street. And there is no real change unless there is mandate from a guy on high. All the breakthroughs—and here you can name whatever women behind microphones—are decisions made by a single man at the top who wants to be Branch Rickey.”

“The reality is that I’m fifty-two years old,” Burke told Sports Illustrated last season. “And how many fifty-five to sixty-year-old women do you see in sports broadcasting? How many? I see a lot of sixty-year-old men broadcasting.” Burke is better than all of them. That might not matter.