Kendall Coyne Schofield, US women’s hockey national team forward and Northeastern graduate, was on the other side of the glass Wednesday night when she appeared as a guest analyst on NBC Sports’ “Wednesday Night Hockey”.
On the show, Coyne Schofield encountered some mansplaining from cohost Pierre McGuire during his “Inside the Glass” segment in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning game at PPG Paints Arena.
Mansplaining is defined by Merriam-Webster as explaining “something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.”
After a brief introduction, McGuire told Coyne Schofield which side of the ice the teams would be on. He then asked Coyne Schofield what she was expecting out of the game, and added “we’re paying you to be an analyst, not to be a fan tonight.”
Coyne Schofield, the two-time Olympic medalist, didn’t blink an eye and rolled right into her thoughts on each team going into the game.
The incident sparked some condemnation online as athletes and women in sports media said it was a reflection of the challenges women face in male-dominated fields.
I guarantee that Pierre didn’t say that to Brian Boucher once in his first runs as an analyst. No one told Paul Bissonnette that when he made his color debut. Treating Coyne as if she’s a kidcaster is embarrassing to watch.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) January 31, 2019
I was mad earlier in the season when random guys were tweeting at me (a hockey writer) NHL rules like I didn't know them. Some people told me I overreacted.— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) January 31, 2019
No. THIS is why. The culture of assuming women don't know the sports they're an expert of. Treating like lesser.
Pierre McGuire, a great example of how far the NHL, broadcast, and sporting world has to go in respecting female athletes and reporters.— Ashley stretch Johnston (@strettyit) January 31, 2019
In a statement Thursday afternoon, McGuire expressed regret for the words he chose and said he had the “utmost respect” for Coyne Schofield.
“I’ve known Kendall for years and have had the privilege of covering her as a member of Team USA at the past two Winter Olympics. We were all thrilled to have her join our coverage last night, but at times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for Kendall as a world-class player, analyst of the game, and role model.”
Coyne Schofield’s appearance follows her history-making participation in the National Hockey League’s All Star Skills Competition on Jan. 25, where she became the first woman to compete in the tournament. She participated in the Fastest Skater competition, clocking in a time of 14.346 seconds — less than a second slower than the event’s three-time winner.
She took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon, calling the past week “one of the most incredible weeks of my life” and expressing support for McGuire while acknowledging the feelings of viewers.
“I’ve known Pierre McGuire for years. I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that is why I didn’t think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened,” she wrote, and went on to say that, upon reviewing the video, she understood why some found it inappropriate.
“While I wish it came out differently, I know Pierre doesn’t question my hockey knowledge. But, to be honest, that’s not what’s important. What IS important is for every young girl reading this to know that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of my hockey knowledge — because I do not doubt my hockey knowledge. I didn’t need a gold medal to come to that conclusion. I needed to believe in myself,” she said.
Watch the full encounter here: