Young women need to respect themselves more
Rita Papazian
Norwalk-Citizen News

Posted: 10/30/2009

Another television personality makes the news for all the wrong reasons. ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips is not only out at home, but also, he's out of his job with the cable sports network, who fired the former Mets general manager and the 22-year-old production assistant Brooke Hundley with whom he was allegedly sleeping with. What is going on in these Connecticut hills where it's not only the trees that are changing color and stripping their outer garments?

Of course, Phillips, as with any upstanding father of four boys would do when caught like a deer in headlights or in this case the media spotlight, heads for rehab.

Yes, as if that justifies why a 46-year-old husband and father would throw reason out into the stands of public opinion to have a little roll in the grass, or as reported, at times -- allegedly a parking lot -- with a young woman more than half his age.

Consider the consequences of his actions. Forget the loss of job. He'll probably find another job as he did after the Mets got rid of him a few years where he allegedly was involved with another co-worker. Forget, the possibility of losing his marriage. Consider the harm he has done to his boys, including a 16-year-old high school teen who also was pulled into this tangled mess, the victim of the young woman who turned her attention allegedly to stalking Philips' wife and harassing their son.

I tried to understand all this as I engaged one of my daughters, the mother of two with a master's degree, in a conversation about why a man would do this to himself and his family. She said, it's no surprise; it goes on all the time. I guess she's right. But, the craziness seems more intense with this scandal. Is it because of all the media attention, days on end? Is it because it involves a television sports broadcast personality?

For me, the sensationalism of this scandal is how such seediness seeped into the suburbia neighborhood where Phillips' family lived as the jilted young woman allegedly felt that after three sexual encounters she had the right to confront the husband's wife to tell her (in a letter) the husband had to choose between his wife and the young woman, who allegedly represents something is wife is not, she wrote.

While my daughter, who has spent many years reading and writing about women's issues, says this happens all the time, I am wondering about the mindset of young women today. Here, we have a young woman who allegedly graduated from Ithaca College determined to have a career in television and becomes distracted by a married man who allegedly pursues her during a business road trip. Where is her stamina? Where is her good sense or even common sense?

I thought back to my own youth and a few situations I encountered in a work situation in my late teens. I attributed that to my own innocence and the innocence of the times -- before the sexual revolution of the 60s. I also attribute my passivity to my strict Italian-American, Catholic upbringing where no one talked about sex.

These are different times. While we read about Phillips/Hundley and how similar to the crazy governor of South Carolina, another father of four boys, who didn't take a hike, but an airplane to meet his soul mate in Argentina, we didn't hear Phillips make any declarations. He knows exactly what happened. He's in his mid-40s and allegedly on the prowl. You have to watch out for those hot television lights, the power suits and coiffed hair.

However, my attention is not really on this guy; it's the young woman. We have to do better in educating young woman to respect themselves better and to respect other women. Not only did Hundley not respect herself, she disrespected Phillips' wife, the innocent victim in this mess. It's interesting that this is in the news as Maria Shriver, the first lady of California, hosts a Women's Conference, which is addressing a variety of issues facing women in the 21st century.

Hundley's generation is benefiting from inroads made by the women of the previous generation, my generation, who have opened the doors to many jobs and pay scales not formerly accessible to women. Not only that, women of my generation did not even have the sports opportunities and money in school budgets to fund women's sports, which now are in public schools.

We have come a long way with opening doors for women to pursue careers of their own choosing, not just nursing or education so prevalent in my day. So look what happens when the door is finally opened? The young women lose their focus and become vulnerable and distracted. Why? What is lacking in our education of women. Why are they still dumb when it comes to self respect?

It is true, that many relationships are formed in the workplace and many of these relationships lead to marriage. However, consider the circumstances here. Phillips is married with four sons. It is alleged he may not have a good track record when it comes to how he relates to women in the workplace. And here we have a 22-year-old young woman just starting out in her career. Where is her focus?

The sex drive is part of human nature. I understand that, but my question is why a young woman just starting out in her career would become so distracted by a married man to the point of losing her job?

Rita Papazian is a freelance writer who has covered Norwalk extensively. She can be reached a .

Copyright 2009 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.