Just before New Year’s, while most Belmont students were still tucked away in the out-of-town comforts of home, an announcement hit Nashville like a linebacker—a 120 lb., scantily clad female linebacker, that is.
Lingerie Football League founder Mitchell Mortaza made the local media rounds on Dec. 29, touting Nashville as the perfect market for a team. The LFL features full-contact arena football played by women wearing little more than underwear. Mortaza is targeting Bridgestone Arena and said he hopes to have a deal worked out for a Music City franchise in 2010.
Not surprisingly, the LFL’s campaign to move to Nashville has met some resistance. A Nashville group, Guys and Girls Against Porn, is seeking signatures on an online petition and asking for people to call the mayor, governor, and Predators management.
“We are asking mothers, daughters, fathers, concerned citizens of Tennessee and the world, to put a stop to this ‘league’ from entering Tennessee, the sexualization/objectification of women which leads to rape, porn usage, and the trafficking of girls and women,” the petition reads.
This issue seems to be one of two distinct sides—but the answer to the issue lies somewhere in the gray area.
For years, football has been a male-dominated sport—and not completely devoid of chauvinism. NFL cheerleaders don’t exactly don long pants and withhold gyrations.
There still should be a place for women in the actual sport of football—and the arena setting is a good alternative. The LFL is full contact—the players wear pads and helmets. Excess of skin aside, the sport is exciting and an opportunity to shatter some barriers, when it comes to women in contact sports is long overdue. The LFL is just extremely misguided in their attempt to sexualize the game—not to mention they are highly delusional if they think it will work in Nashville.
Mortaza says the LFL is trying to appeal to the college-aged 21-plus crowds. I would fall into that category and a quick poll among like-minded people found the concept despicable. I don’t think the Bible Belt is ready for the LFL.
However, perhaps this LFL controversy will lead to a sport, similar to football, that breaks down the gender walls in contact sports. Nashville would be a great place to start it.
Pierce Greenberg, sports editor, is a senior majoring in journalism.