NHL ‘12 becomes first professional sports game to have female character
Hockey gaming enthusiasts now have the option of creating a woman character in the newest of the popular game series, NHL. This seemingly simple move is new to the sexist gaming industry as NHL has become the premier game to allow this type of customization. Other professional sporting games such as MLB, Madden and NBA allow players to customize just about everything about their players — except for their sex. While Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game has always allowed players to choose a female character, among mainstream sporting games, NHL has broken a boundary of sorts.
The change in this EA Sports game is reportedly the result of a letter written to EA from a young female hockey fan who was frustrated that she was unable to customize her character to look like her. After being initially turned down, EA decided to honor the young fan’s request and created the new option. Unfortunately, the game only allows for minor customizations to the character, including two options for hair color, but only gives the option of being Caucasian — contrary to male characters who get a plethora of options for customizing their characters.
This is surely progress but it begs another question: Why are major sporting leagues are STILL allowed to discriminate against players based on their sex? The WNBA’s viewership is much lower than that of the NBA’s and there exists very few alternatives for women who are interested in playing football on the professional level. How is this still going on and what can be done to fix it?
For this 14 year old, a letter went a long way. Could a letter lead to a conversation about integration in major sporting leagues?