Trifecta is an all-female ESPN podcast hosted by Sarah Spain, Jane McManus and Kate Fagan. The women talk about both men’s and women’s sports, and bring their interesting perspectives to the podcast world.
On Tuesday, they hosted a special, three-hour episode called The Trifecta: Women Making History Special as part of ESPN’s celebration of Women’s History Month. They talked to WNBA players Sue Bird and Stefanie Dolson, espnW commentator Julie Foudy, SportsCenter‘s Jemele Hill, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, USA beach volleyball player April Ross and USA hockey co-captain Hilary Knight.
The podcast touched on a variety of topics, but here are a few of my favorite highlights:
1. The discussion regarding the possibility of a female head coach in the NBA, focused on Becky Hammon, assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs. The hosts talked to Gregg Popovich, head coach of the Spurs.
“She’s been a significant part of what we do here,” Popovich said. “She’s a very capable, knowledgeable teacher, and I think it’s a great example for us and the NBA to have the first NBA woman assistant for her to be the caliber of coach she is.”
2. Knight and the hosts discussed how the USA women’s hockey team and USA hockey came to a wage agreement and avoided a boycott of the world championships.
“We were prepared to sit out World Championships, and it was a big sacrifice, but we felt very passionate about the things we were asking for,” Knight said. “USA Hockey came to the table and wanted to show that they supported women in sport and women’s ice hockey, specifically, and we’re going to move forward and set this precedent and have a very exciting unfold of what’s to come for our sport.”
3. An interview with Hill, who spoke about diversity and how she gives back to other women.
“Mentorship was always really big,” Hill said. “It was certainly something that helped me in terms of my career and so I try to do what I can to let all the women in our business know that I’m here for whatever you need from me.”
4. Bird talked about WNBA’s struggles in keeping up with the NBA.
“I’ll be honest, when I was in college, I wasn’t checking the TV guide to see when WNBA games were on,” she said. “There’s a major disconnect, and it’s tough.”
5. Ross went into detail on the sexualization of women’s beach volleyball.
“I know that that’s out there, and I realize that some people are attracted to the sport because of it, and I don’t think that’s going to go away,” Ross said. “I mean, it’s just exacerbated by the fact that we’re wearing bikinis, which to me, seems only natural since we’re playing on the beach, and I don’t have an issue with it. I feel like I’ve worked really hard for my body, and I like our uniforms, I’m going to wear that, and kind of however people want to promote it, that’s how they’re going to promote it…Drawing people in is such a huge deal for our sport, and once they see our sport, they’re so impressed, and they fall in love with the athletic ability of the players and the game itself that I just feel like it’s almost a natural progression for us and kind of necessary in a way.”
Podcasts like these are especially important in elevating women’s voices and putting them at the forefront of the sports conversation. Female athletes and media members are so often discussed as an afterthought, so I enjoyed listening to their stories in detail. Spain put it best in her intro: “We don’t want to be cheerleaders.”