Jackie MacMullan On Tara Sullivan Controversy: “There Is No Excuse For This”

  • Glenn Davis

The most unexpected storyline to emerge from the Masters wasn’t even the win of Charl Schwartzel…it was a security guard’s mistaken denial of locker room access to reporter Tara Sullivan. Sullivan came out of the controversy looking all the better, but there was still room to debate what the guard’s mistake meant (if anything) in the grand scheme of equality in sports.

Enter Jackie MacMullan. As a female who’s been in the sportswriting game almost 30 years, she’s got a better perspective than most on what it takes to succeed as a woman in a predominantly male environment, and shared that perspective on Around the Horn today. And while she believed the explanation that Sullivan was turned away by someone who simply didn’t know the rules, that doesn’t mean she was happy about it:

“It’s wrong that this is happening. In 1982, my first day on the job at the [Boston] Globe, I got physically restrained by a security guard at a UMass football game. It was one of the most humiliating days of my life. People don’t understand what it feels like until it happens to you.

All right – 30 years ago maybe I can understand why there was some confusion. 30 years later, there is no excuse for this at any place or any time. Everybody has equal access – that’s the law.”

Fellow panelist Kevin Blackistone said the incident “[spoke] to the culture at Augusta National,” while Tim Cowlishaw and Woody Paige agreed that indeed, the security guard simply made a mistake that had nothing to do with actual policy. Paige even wondered if the flap would get Augusta National to consider finally admitting a female member. MacMullan doubted it. Alas, we share her skepticism on that one. Video of the debate, via ESPN, below.