As the Jonathan Martin scandal revealed to us this past year, certain expectations that we have about athletes in America have become so unreasonable that they've actually began to affect how these individuals treat one another. In the case of Martin, the macho culture that has surrounded football for decades was ridiculous to the point that it effectively justified Richie Incognito's actions against Martin, and even allowed Incognito to be made out as a victim of sorts in the situation. However, even when onlookers do label an event like this as a signal of pro sports' dangerous masculinity complex, it's also important to note that we rarely hear of any similar defenses being raised for the women in sports who are called out for their talents on a regular basis.
The complaints have become cliche: Danica Patrick can't drive; the WNBA is boring. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions of an athlete or a particular sport, but you have to pay attention to the fact that when we continually degrade females in sport, it only reinforces the notion that athletics are for "real men" only. When that belief reaches its boiling point, we end up with problems like the Jonathan Martin case. Not only is the contradiction a dumb one, it's also dangerous.