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Bucs botch another play as they introduce the ‘Red’ movement for women

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A new project by the Tampa Bay Bucs has plenty of their fans seeing Red.

The Bucs, ostensibly reaching out to its female fans, have introduced “Red,” which a release reminds us is “a women’s movement” six different times. It also brings up fashion and cooking.

“There are any number of reasons why this is a horrible idea,” writes Cindy Boren in The Washington Post. “Women fans understand the game. They number about half of the NFL’s fan base and, in case anyone had forgotten, women fans reminded the NFL of their influence when they spoke out about the ham-fisted way of handling domestic violence incidents a year ago.”

USA Today called it “embarrassingly sexist.” They ridiculed the idea of the first Red term of the week: Play Clock. The Tampa Bay Times reminds us that the Bucs had seven delay-of-game penalties, so perhaps the term is foreign to some men, as well.

There is a woman coach now, in Arizona, and women officials.

Said Laura Keeney of the Denver Post: “Because girls, you know that footballing is all about pairing your tight jersey with the right pumps and making the perfect canapés. You know, football-y stuff. Woo.

“We don’t need pink jerseys. We don’t need Pinterest to tell us how to enjoy a spot. We are already watching, cheering, donning our favorite jersey, cracking open a beer, eating nachos and yelling at the TV.”

The Bucs’ release calls the Red movement “groundbreaking.”

The Times’ Tom Jones tried to defend the team, pointing out that the Rams, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Texans, Colts and a half-dozen other teams had similar initiatives. He pointed out that the Titans give fingernail polish.

The thing was, the Bucs’ release was filled with clumsy phrasing and seemed to talk down to women. That isn’t allowed.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the Bucs would have done well to have removed the word “women” from its initiative. Why not make it for all fans. Or why not do what the Ravens did, and invite female fans without being condescending to them. Why not make it about educating all fans in, say, picking up a blitz.

Maybe then so much of the media wouldn’t point out that the team was 2-14 last year.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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