Women On The Sidelines

<b>Andy Rooney</b> Explains The Remark That Sparked Outrage

A weekly commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

You probably saw where I got in trouble on a show with the old quarterback, Boomer Esiason, when I made a derogatory remark I'd have been better off not having made, about women reporters on the sidelines at football games.

It was all over the newspapers - lots of clever headlines.

I was someone's choice for Outrage of the Week Award on "The Capitol Gang:"

Al Hunt:" Now for the outrage of the week."

Margaret Carlson: "Did you ever notice that cranky guy 60 Minutes keeps on the sidelines? He doesn't know what he's talking about except, say, the number of raisins in Raisin Bran?"

Well, I wish I hadn't included all the women doing football because some of them are quite good, but I don't apologize for having said it. Most of the women are there because they're good-looking, not because they know a lot about the game.

Chrissie Evert is great reporting on tennis, whether the players are men or women, because she knows what she's talking about.

Martha Burk head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, had a good sense of humor about my remarks. She thinks I ought to get fired.

Burk: "It is absurd that in the year 2002, soon to be 2003, that a person can make a blatantly sexist remark on the air of a major network and not be fired. That's the absurdity."

Well, anyone who thinks I'm sexist knows less about me than some of those women on the sidelines know about football. I am not sexist, and it is a mystery to me why so many women are less satisfied being women, than men are satisfied being men. I find it unbecoming when they try to be like men, too, on the sidelines or anywhere else.

There's no doubt that women have gotten a bad deal in the long history of human beings on earth. Activists like Martha Burk are helping to turn that around.

If I had to say which I admire most, the qualities of men or the qualities of women, I'd choose women. They seem to be better human beings than men. If the world had been dominated by women instead of by men, as there's no doubt it has been, we would not have had centuries of unending war. If George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, traded places, we might have a better President.

I just don't want her down on the sidelines at a football game.