Plymouth Marjon University student, Amanda Hocking, resigned from her role as Manager of the Women's National Baseball team after a sexist image was posted on the British Baseball Federation's Twitter account.
The image shows the back of a female player who appears to be topless or in a halter top, wearing a glove and a helmet. It included the logo of Women’s Baseball UK. Amanda founded Women's Baseball UK in 2017, she has also played baseball at international level and was the first player from the UK to play on the European Women's Baseball team.
Women’s Baseball UK is a non-profit organisation that promotes and develops women in baseball. This year it formed the first UK women's league in nearly 80 years. Amanda also played a key role in forming the GB Women's National team in 2020.
Amanda quickly asked that the tweet be deleted, out of concern that it would damage the reputation of the sport. The tweet was initially defended, and then stayed up for around 12 hours.
Many UK teams issued statements condemning the tweet and the lack of a quick response from the British Baseball Federation.
Five out of seven British Baseball Federation board members, including the President, resigned and the federation ultimately apologised to Hocking and the women’s league. Her story has since been published in the New York Times.
Amanda, who studies FdA Sports Development and Coaching, sees this as an opportunity for growth in British Baseball saying: “I knew I had to go to the extreme length of resigning to be listened to. I’ve put a lot of work into developing women’s baseball, so I had to stand up for it. It’s a fresh slate now though, it’s been an incredibly difficult time, but I think Women’s Baseball in the UK will come out of this stronger and more welcoming”.
She continued: “I reached out to my lecturers, they were brilliant, and Lee still checks if I'm okay. I've fallen behind on my assignments because of what I've been dealing with, but the whole university has been brilliant.”
Senior Sports lecturer, Phil Brown said: “Through the Sport Development and Coaching programme, we discuss good practice and failures in sports governance, and issues associated with inequality and gender representations in sport.
“These issues came together in the recent episode of British Baseball. I was so impressed with the dignity and courage Amanda showed in what was a really difficult situation. She has been an inspiration in standing up for the values and principles of inclusive sport."
The British Baseball Federation is moving to ensure that a similar situation doesn't happen again. Interim members have formed a working group to develop a plan before an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to nominate new members to board roles. This will include roles focused on diversity and media. And over on Twitter, only images of real baseball players will be used.