There is a movement going on in the sports world that many may not be aware of. That movement is to make women’s football, flag and tackle, a part of America’s national sports lineup. Yes, there are hundreds of semi-pro teams for women to play for across the country but there are no professional leagues or teams for women who love playing football. Matter of fact, there are no college or high school teams for girls to play on either. It’s time for a change. And Las Vegas Showgirlz owner and coach Dion Lee is ready for that change.
Lee has played football since he was a small child and when his college lost it’s football funding because of Title IX issues, regarding the unequal scholarship funding to men over women, his football career ended abruptly. Instead of becoming bitter, Lee decided to turn his loss into a chance to help females who loved playing football get a chance to play and hopefully one day earn athletics scholarships for them to play football in college.
Lee’s passion is evident when it comes to women receiving the chance to equally play football in high school, college and professionally. He is never afraid to go toe to toe with naysayers of women playing football on a large scale or even at all.
We polled social media and asked them why women can’t play football on a professional manner and some of the answers were prehistoric at best:
“Females aren’t built to take a hit like a young man. They are just different.”
“Because women complain too much.”
“We (women) are not physically built to play a sport like that. Just as men aren’t physically meant to give birth.”
“Women are built to carry babies. Taking the kind of hits that football players take would eventually cause problems. Women don’t have to do everything men do.”
When Lee reviewed the answers he immediately defended women’s ability to play the same football that many American’s enjoy during the fall and winter months.
“When I read the comments I wanted to reach out to each person but I realized I didn’t have that kind of time but it was appalling to see that some people felt the way that they felt. It was comical at best because it showed they were misinformed about women’s football,” says Lee.
Lee believes that women are as good, if not better in some instances, than some men when it comes to playing football. He has been coaching for more than 10 years and he recalls that many of the women he has coached have a fire inside of them to prove a point to the rest of the world. So that means that they are not willing to run off the field crying when they hit by a 300 pound female linebacker. He says that these players get right back up and carry on with the rest of the game.
“I know firsthand that women and girls want to play football be it flag or tackle,” he shares. “Women are just as competitive as men. They train and want to compete. It’s another way to express how they stay fit and healthy.”
According to Lee, women and girls make up 52 percent of the NFL fan base and many of them grew up watching football and even played in their neighborhoods. Women’s football is the fast growing sport for girls and women. There are great women team products out there that attract a large and supportive fan base.
“Regardless of who’s playing, football is exciting and fun to watch,” Lee adds. “I know it’s time for women to have their turn to play!”
Some critics of women’s football compared the success of any professional league to the Women’s National Basketball Association. The WNBA struggles yearly to fill the seats and many naysayers say it’s boring and lackluster. But Lee thinks differently. He believes that the most exciting play in basketball is the slam-dunk and if the WNBA lowered the goals to nine feet then more dunks would make the game more exciting. For football, Lee shares that football fans look for hard hits, great catches, and exciting runs.
“Watching a basketball game and watching a football game requires two different speed and skill sets,” Lee adds. “In basketball fans are looking for the dunks whereas in football they are looking for the hits and you get that with men’s and women’s football no matter what level of football you go and see.”
But can women earn a living playing football. That’s what some critics offered for women who wanted to mangle their bodies playing the rough sport. Lee shares that it depends on what the market can handle. He continues by adding that if more sponsors where involved with women’s sports then women could and would get paid market value especially if the sport is aired on local or national television.
Other critics believe that colleges do not see the point of putting a woman in the position to get hurt and take a huge risk of damage that may or may not do destroy them for the rest of their lives if they are allowed to earn scholarships and play on a college level. Ultimately, the colleges don’t believe a women’s football team would not earn money. Lee counters by stating that every sport has a male and female counterpart – baseball and softball, basketball, soccer, track and field and volleyball – but not football. The goal is to give women a chance to play in high school and college and build the professional leagues like the NFL was built in the 1920s and 1930s, when players were not played to play.
“We are working towards that by having them start off in high school and then get the chance to play on the college level,” says Lee. “Once we are able to get a high level of play, a professional league can be started.”
Lee started The Movement campaign to help women and girls play football on all levels on Indiegogo, a national fundraising site for individuals who need help raising money for a cause. He is also hosting the nation’s largest display of football Super Bowl weekend. He is inviting teams in all divisions, men, women, boys and girls, both flag and tackle to play in the tournament. If you are interested in being a part of The Movement then visit Indiegogo or www.premier7football.com for more information.