NEW YORK (WFAN) — Mike Francesa on Monday defended his comments last week that he believed there was “no shot” a woman would be a head coach of a men’s professional team in his lifetime.
The remarks drew instant criticism. Newsday ran a column saying Francesa’s opinion reflected “stone-age thinking.” A Wall Street Journal columnist wanted to bet Francesa $1,000 that Spurs assistant Becky Hammon would become a head coach in five years. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the comments “nonsense.”
Francesa said Monday that of the four major team sports, basketball was the only one worth discussing because it’s the “only sport where women have a sport that approaches the male game.”
He noted that even on the college level, there are no female head basketball coaches in any division, and that there are fewer women’s head coaches in the women’s game than there were 10 years ago.
Cracking into the top jobs of the NBA would be practically impossible, Francesa said.
Francesa recalled in 1990 when Kentucky coach Rick Pitino hired assistant coach Bernadette Locke, it was lauded as a groundbreaking move. But only two women landed full-time assistant jobs on men’s teams in the 15 years after — and they only lasted a couple of seasons each.
“One of the hardest things — and you’ll hear this from young coaches who come up as assistants and you hear this from college coaches who come into the NBA — when you’re dealing with NBA teams, you’re dealing with guys who are independent contractors, who have been around, who are very professional in what they do. This is their business. This is their life,” he added.
“Think about the scrutiny that, that places a head coach under.”
Francesa pointed to Knicks star Carmelo Anthony recently questioning Jeff Hornacek’s coaching decisions. Hornacek enjoyed a very successful playing career on both the college and NBA levels.
“How would one of these women stand up to that scrutiny, if we’re being realistic?” Francesa asked.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with women’s rights,” he added. “It has nothing to do with being chauvinistic. I have no problem with women advancing in business. They have every right to and they will do it as well as men, maybe better. Same thing with politics.”
Listen to the segment by clicking on the audio player above.