Women's basketball star Rebecca Lobo recounts sexist remark from referee while coaching her son's team

Legendary women's basketball star and ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo encountered a disheartening instance of sexism that she shared with fans on social media.

"Something happened to me that's never happened before," she said while beginning her story.

Lobo was coaching her 15-year-old son's AAU team and one of her players was knocked down. Naturally, she reacted, yelling "That's a foul!" which drew a technical foul from one official. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But then the other referee approached Lobo.

"So as the kid on the other team is shooting a free throw, the other ref came over and said, 'Your kid slipped,'" Lobo said. "And I said, 'He didn't slip; he got fouled.'"

Lobo explained that she responded in a normal tone of voice and volume. Despite not yelling, that prompted a response that still surprised the UConn star and WNBA All-Star as she recapped the incident.

"And this ref, a man, looked at me and said, 'This is a grown man's game. This is not a women's game,'" she said, still in disbelief that this happened in 2024.

The first question that comes to mind is, did that referee realize who he was talking to? Lobo is one of the biggest stars in women's basketball, winning the 1995 national championship with UConn and getting her jersey number retired by the school. She won a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She played six seasons in the WNBA, including its inaugural campaign.

Never mind that that referee was also officiating a game involving 15-year-old athletes. Not yet "grown men" out there on the court.

Lobo is also one of the sport's biggest advocates as a broadcaster for college and professional women's basketball. She demonstrated that at the end of her video by encouraging fans to watch Saturday's WNBA game between the "grown women" of the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty.

Unfortunately, it's probably safe to guess that the referee Lobo dealt with will not be watching. For some people, there's still a long way to go toward acceptance.

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