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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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COLUMN: My journey from shot put to sports media

Sia DeyKoontz
Spring 2024 staff portrait of Payton Liggins.

“Women’s sports are not as entertaining.”

“Women’s sports are not aggressive.”

“You throw like a girl.”

“Women in sports don’t count.”

Ever heard those before? I have and I’m sure many women in sports have too. 

Happy Women’s History Month! 

Those phrases are echoed throughout society to many women in sports. They are used to undermine and create a negative view of the women’s sports industry. 

As a past female athlete but now a woman in sports media, comments like this enrage me. Do you really think that low of women?

This type of thinking comes from the stereotypes that were created generations before us, but now it’s time to change the culture. 

In years past, I celebrated the amazing women who’ve made many contributions for me, but today I am celebrating the women who work in sports that have paved the way.

Being in sports as a child made me realize I either wanted to be in front of the camera or behind it, and now working in sports media, I want to do both. 

It’s been clear to me for some time now that I want to work in the sports industry. Since deciding to pursue my ambition and make this my career, I haven’t actually looked back.

I was a track and field athlete. I threw shot put and discus since sixth grade, and it was fun. Except, I was the only girl on the team in middle school and high school. So, being around a bunch of jock football players didn’t help at all. 

It being the only sport I knew, there was no way I could find another sport to put my focus on.

Slowly falling out of love with shot put, I started focusing on sports media. It all started in high school. I was a mini content creator, and that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do. 

Having the opportunity to start working for my hometown’s youth football and cheer program is where I first got to express my creativity the most.

During this opportunity, I learned from a lot of people and realized what I wanted to do in sports media.

Being a part of The News and writing sports articles have given me life and made me a different person. I love having connections with athletes and coaches and telling their stories through articles and graphics.

Showing my creativity and becoming as some say a “sports content creator” is one of the main things I have interest in. That is how I landed the student internship with Eastern’s baseball team’s social media team.

Taking risks is a part of the job, and I’m glad I took the risk of emailing the coaches at Eastern for opportunities. I am now expressing my best creativity through writing and social media.

The journey of being a woman in sports has been nothing but good to me.

Yes, I’ve only been working with sports (women’s and men’s basketball, baseball and a little football) full time since January, but if anything, I feel rewarded. I’m finally doing something I enjoy.

With the sports industry being so male dominated, it’s hard and sometimes scary to voice your opinion. Like “Sir, I’m on your team because I know sports too. Let me talk.”

Sometimes people will try to give me trivia questions to see if I really know what I’m talking about…duh. I obviously know what I’m talking about.

In high school, I wasn’t open about “sports talk” so I got the looks and stares when I told them I want a career in sports media.

I want people to realize that women in sports isn’t an outlandish or uncommon thing, especially with African American women. Showing more representation is one of my main goals.

I wouldn’t change anything in my life right now. I am learning and getting the experience and working with different athletes, coaches and writers to help live out my dream. 

Being totally transparent, I know women in sports media isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “women in sports,” especially African American women, but let’s put a little respect on our names when we put the work in. 


Payton Liggins can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Payton Liggins
Payton Liggins, Reporter
Payton Liggins is a freshman sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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