Professional soccer player Brandi Chastain, who is known internationally for whipping off her jersey and falling to her knees in her sports bra after the U.S. defeated China in the 1999 Women's World Cup at the Rose Bowl, was under the California Capitol dome Monday as the state Assembly recognized the 40th anniversary of Title IX. It also gave the California Storm defender and midfielder a chance to wince as Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton) whined that the 1972 federal law mandating gender equality in college and high school sports has been unfair to athletes with penises.
Here's what Norby said that produced the facial equivalent of a red card from Chastain:
We need to be honest about the effects of what I believe are faulty court interpretations or federal enforcement of Title IX, because it has led to the abolition of many male sports across the board in UCs and Cal States. And that was never the intention of this, to have numerical equality. It was never the intention to attain equality by reducing opportunities for the men.
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As Chastain stood in the back of the Sacramento chambers Norbstruck, she received an unlikely assist from another Orange County lawmaker. Assemblyman Jim Silva (R-Huntington Beach) said that when he was a high school football coach in the 1970s, he felt that same way about Title IX as Norby.
"Then, on March 18, 1978, my world completely switched," Silva said. "That was the day my daughter was born."
Is something in your eye, or are you wincing at the realization that it took gender equality being applied not the public at large but Silva's own family for him to come around on Title IX?