CSN TOMBOY

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

The following is a Q&A with former Chicago Bears defensive end and CSN Chicago Bears analyst Alex Brown on gender in sports leading up to CSN’s original documentary TOMBOY airing on March 13.

What character traits did you develop through sports and how did you pass those on to your daughters?

Being available and always coming with a great attitude whether practice or in a  game.

How can your daughters benefit from sports?

I think all kids can learn that you don't always "win." Sometimes you have to learn how to face defeat whether in the corporate world or in a sports atmosphere.

Was there a female role model in your life that you looked up to?

I have four brothers, so the one female figure I grew up with was my mom. To raise five boys takes a special woman. She is nothing short of special in my book.

Is it tough to see some of the violence against women going on in the NFL, and do you feel like things are worse now with social media? Everything appears to be out there; not just information, but images and video.

I don't think it's worse. I actually believe that because it's out there and no longer hidden within homes. People actually have to take accountability for their actions. Hopefully this helps us move closer to not treating women - or men for that matter - this way.

How is raising two daughters different than raising a boy?

Well for me, raising daughters is all new, I grew up with four brothers, so having to  deal with emotions almost 24/7 is something that I have never been faced with before. Girls are sensitive but they love you like no other. My girls meet me at the door at the end of the day with a huge hug and they are super excited that I am home. My son, on the other hand, kind of throws his hand in the air and says, "Hey, Dad, glad you're home." (laughs) Completely different to say the least.

Do you steer your daughters into playing sports?

I definitely would like for my girls to play sports because of what sports can teach with team building, bonding and being competitive. But it's their choice. What I do tell them is that you don't have to play if you don't want to, but if you do then we are going to be the best that we can be at whatever sport it is that they are doing.

Do you watch women’s sports?

We will watch WNBA, college soccer and softball together, but I think they would rather color and draw sometimes than watch sports in general.

How do you see the future of women’s sports?

I think the future of women's sports will hang on if it can get a superstar that has it all. The way we see the NBA isn't the way it was prior to MJ getting there, even though Magic and Bird were ruling. It took the perfect combination of charisma, talent, likability and marketability; that as we all know now was Michael Jordan, and the sport took off from there. In each sport - whether soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis (Serena Williams) - they just need that one special person and the fan base will grow and that sport will thrive.

TOMBOY: #YesAllWomenInSports

TOMBOY: #YesAllWomenInSports

By Tess Quinlan

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a sports journalist.

There might have been a very brief stint in kindergarten where Friendly’s waitress was discussed as an option, but that melted away as quickly as a Cone Head sundae.

With the exception of kindergarten, there was no hesitation or question; I was going to be a sports journalist. I was going to do anything to get there, but there were going to be some rough moments.

I remember being the only girl watching the game with the boys. I remember the isolation of being the only woman on a beat. I remember the skeptical looks, the odd questions, and the doubtful comments.

But by far, the absolute worst part of all was, and still is, The Quiz.

Any woman that works in sports journalism will tell you that at some point in her life, she has been subjected to a quiz by someone who thinks they know more about sports than she does. It could be someone close to them, like a friend or family member, or someone that she’s just met, like a guy in a bar, your barista or mechanic.

The quiz normally starts with little questions with an air of superiority and condescension, normally starting with “WELL” and ending with “Huh?!” (Real-life example-WELL, What is Utah’s mascot, huh?!)

As a woman, you know that a man would never be subjected to this in a serious context. You are acutely aware that this is not a joke. There is an expectation that you must answer the basic, idiotic questions to show your knowledge and that is the most frustrating thing of all.

If someone tells you they’re an accountant, you don’t ask them to debit an account. If someone tells you they’re a history teacher, you don’t demand they list all the presidents. You don’t make them prove that they are knowledgeable in their field. You take their word for it.

As a society, we still have a long way to go with how we see women in sports, both on and off the floor, but we have made tremendous progress. For all of The Quizzes, there are genuine questions and supporters.

I once asked my mom if she ever tried to convince me to pursue another career. She started to laugh. “Even if I wanted to, I never had a chance. You decided very early that this was what you were going to do. You were constantly going to games with your dad, so I just tried to help in whatever way I could.”

Her encouragement made me focus on the positive aspects of what I do.

For me, work is debating whether or not Terrell Owens should be in the Hall of Fame or covering a March Madness game. It’s always something new.

There’s enough competition in sports, so let’s stop the quizzes and start the support.

CSN Chicago joins NBC Sports in celebrating Women's History Month with TOMBOY

tomboy_for_press_release.jpg

CSN Chicago joins NBC Sports in celebrating Women's History Month with TOMBOY

CSN Chicago to premiere the one-hour TOMBOY documentary feature on Monday, March 13 at 9:00 PM CT
CSN to also air an accompanying local “Women in Sports” roundtable special on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:00 PM
Numerous TOMBOY videos, interviews, podcasts, symposium highlights, and much more available at CSNChicago.com/TOMBOY

Chicago, IL (March 2, 2017) – To celebrate Women’s History Month in March, CSN Chicago proudly joins NBC Sports' TOMBOY initiative, a first-of-its-kind, multi-platform documentary project that aims to elevate the conversation about gender in sports told through the voices of many of the world’s most prominent females athletes, broadcasters, and sports executives.  The TOMBOY initiative (presented by GEICO) is being celebrated throughout the country on NBC Sports Regional Networks from coast to coast with the airing of a one-hour documentary feature, special locally-produced programs, video interviews, podcasts, symposiums, and much more.

The one-hour TOMBOY documentary, which features many prominent athletes, sports executives and media members sharing their unique stories and experiences, will premiere on CSN Chicago on Monday, March 13 at 9:00 PM CT.  Notable figures appearing in the film include four-time World Cup-champion skier Lindsey Vonn, Little League World Series pitching sensation Mo'ne Davis, Basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers-Drysdale, and legendary champion for gender equality/tennis icon Billie Jean King among others. In the last 40 years, the number of females participating in sports has nearly doubled, with two out of every five girls today choosing to play sports, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The documentary discusses reasons why some girls aren’t playing sports, as well as increases in awareness and conversation about the participation of women in sports.  NOTE: CSN will also re-air the TOMBOY documentary on the following dates/times: 3/17 at 12:30 PM, 3/18 at 4:30 PM, 3/19 at 8:00 PM, 3/22 at 7:00 PM, and 3/31 at 11:00 PM.

In addition, CSN Chicago will be airing a special, locally-produced "Women in Sports" roundtable discussion show on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:00 PM CT.  Hosted by CSN anchor/reporter Kelly Crull, this half-hour special features a prominent local panel, including veteran NBC Chicago sports anchor/reporter Peggy Kusinski, Head Coach of Northwestern University’s massively-successful women’s lacrosse team Kelly Amonte Hiller, along with Sami Grisafe, quarterback of the Women's Football Alliance's (WFA) Chicago Force.  Among the topics of discussion include how women's roles in sports have evolved over time and if sufficient progress has been made, challenges faced along their respective career paths, how they first became involved in sports, and much more.  CSN will re-air its "Women in Sports" local special on the following dates/times: 3/9 at 5:30 PM, 3/10 at 2:30 PM, and 3/11 at 9:00 PM.

Plus -- CSN Chicago will also air a special program featuring focused solely on the legendary Billie Jean King. The half-hour interview show, Billie Jean King: Elevating the Conversation, will debut Thursday, March 9 at 11:00 PM, and will encore Sunday, March 12 at 6:00 PM.

Earlier this week (Monday, February 27), CSN Chicago held a "Women in Sports" symposium at DePaul University’s Student Center, which included a TOMBOY documentary sneak preview screening & a spirited panel discussion featuring CSN’s Kelly Crull as the symposium’s host/moderator, along with panelists Jean Lenti Ponsetto (DePaul University, Athletics Director), Doug Bruno (DePaul University, Women’s Basketball Head Coach), Susan Goodenow (Chicago Bulls, VP of Marketing & Branding), Peggy Kusinski (NBC Chicago, Sports Anchor/Reporter), and Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars, Forward).  As part of the symposium, and in conjunction with the TOMBOY initiative, CSN Chicago VP/GM Phil Bedella presented a $5,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago to be used to purchase sports equipment for children who attend the Club(s). 

The donation stems from Comcast NBCUniversal's longstanding partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  Comcast NBCUniversal has supported local Boys & Girls Clubs for more than 15 years, providing nearly $125 million in cash and in-kind contributions since 2009 alone.  In late 2014, Comcast NBCUniversal announced a five-year agreement with BGCA valued at tens of millions of dollars, making BGCA the company’s largest community partner.  At the center of that agreement is a new technology education initiative, called My.Future, which is designed to open the eyes of young people to what’s possible for them to achieve through technology.  Highlights from CSN Chicago’s "Women in Sports" symposium at DePaul University can be accessed via the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/video/tomboy-women-sports-symposium .

For additional TOMBOY content, including original on-camera interviews and career stories, podcasts, documentary trailers, and much more, viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com/TOMBOY. Social media users can also join the conversation and find additional information by utilizing the hashtag #CSNTOMBOY on Twitter and Facebook and by visiting @CSNTOMBOY.