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Ursinus College professor: ESPN analyst’s words ‘debased’ and ‘violated’ me

A professor at Pennsylvania’s Ursinus College is claiming an ESPN basketball analyst’s words in a Twitter feud “debased” and “violated” her.

According to the New York Post, the controversy began when ESPN’s Dan Dakich blasted Duke University basketball player Jalen Johnson’s decision to leave the team with just six games left in the regular season.

On Twitter, Duke Lecturing Fellow Nathan Kalman-Lamb (below, left) criticized Dakich and others in the media for their criticisms of Johnson.

According to his university webpage, Kalman-Lamb is “recently published in scholarly venues on athletic labor and social reproduction and centering writing in critical sociology of sport pedagogy.”

Also involved in the Twitter scuffle was Johanna Mellis, who teaches history at Ursinus. According to USA Today, when Dakich asked Kalman-Lamb, Mellis and others if they “understood athletics,” Mellis responded by asking him if he wanted “to play in the ‘arena'” and  “go at it in the pool.”

Mellis is a former Division I college swimmer.

Dakich seemingly took Mellis’s comments another way: He told her he would “have to divorce his wife first” before taking up the pool challenge. He also complained about Mellis’s “bitching.”

This led to Mellis accusing Dakich of being “misogynistic and violent” towards her.

“Through his use of the b-word and the way he sexualized my clear reference to racing in the pool, he debased and violated me according to my identity over the public airwaves for all to hear,” Mellis wrote in an email to the Indy Star.

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From the story:

“His actions are the perfect example of how critics of exploitation in the sports realm are treated, especially women,” wrote Mellis (at left), whose The End of Sport is described as a podcast on capitalist sport, labor and justice for end times. …

“I have experienced (misogyny) myself in past episodes of sexual harassment on the pool deck,” she wrote. “Many of my fellow female athletes and female sports journalists have also … this is not just about me.” …

Dakich addressed the controversy on his radio show last week, saying his use of “bitching” was directed at male professors as well.

“Two guys and a lady came at me. And they said, ‘Well, you’re yelling at student-athletes while they’re being exploited’ or something, and I said, ‘Look, maybe, but I … I was in the arena and you guys were sitting outside bitching. Now, remember, it was two men and one lady. Guess what that got called? Sexist. […] Be careful. I didn’t even realize, I just said bitching because it’s what people do. It’s what everybody does, everybody just bitches. But that’s sexist apparently because I said bitching and a lady was in the conversation.”

The Post notes Dakich also made fun of Kalman-Lamb’s looks and announced the lecturer’s office hours on the air.

ESPN noted on Sunday that it has launched an investigation.

Read the Post and USA Today articles.

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IMAGES: Shutterstock.com; Duke University, Ursinus College screencaps

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