I struggled to find a contact form on ESPN's website, and sent an e-mail to a generic ESPN account. A quick response directed me to their official contact page.
Half paying attention and attempting to interject in the class' discussion here and there, I clicked through a series of drop-down menus to specify my complaint.
Satellite Cable Provider: Comcast Cable.
Category: TV Sports Events Coverage.
Item: Basketball - Men's College.
Topics: Commentator - Dislike Female Commentators.
Before moving on to "Overall Coverage" and completing my Penn-Harvard complaint, I tweeted a screenshot of the "Dislike female commentators" option with my cursor highlighting the choice with the text, "wait this is a serious complaint of @espn viewers?" I seriously could not believe my eyes.
I have hardly 250 Twitter followers, and as shocked and appalled as I was to see a legitimate option such as that from a respectable media outlet, I never thought or expected my tweet to reach as many people as it did.
A few friends responded with similar sentiments of shock and anger, and as the day progressed my feelings simmered.
It's not that I'm a feminist, it's that I am a female sports journalist with dreams of one day reporting from the NFL sidelines. Given that ESPN has been such a pioneer in allowing females the chance to pursue dreams similar to mine, seeing such blatant sexism was a serious blow to the head.
Admittedly, I was torn. Do I turn against the network I grew up watching and admiring, or do I demand an apology for contradicting one of its greatest strengths?
Over the course of the next 24 hours, my story - or rather, my tweet - gained serious ground. My Twitter fame increased instantly, as I began to fear I was a one-tweet wonder. The message - not my message, though I fully support it - circulated around the Twittersphere, much as a result of a Jezebel post and retweets by influential users.
My inquisitive, journalistic mind prompted me to do two things: Ask ESPN if they planned to issue an apology, and tweet my finding to a few of my idols at ESPN - Sage Steele, Hannah Storm, and, now with ABC, Robin Roberts.
I was truly curious if ESPN's own employees were aware of the situation.
I later received a generic response from a PR representative, which I immediately sent out in three tweets. Later that evening, I received a thoughtful and apologetic e-mail from ESPN's vice president of communications, Josh Krulewitz. He explained his side of the story, and while appreciative and understanding, I still have unanswered questions.
I'm not sure if we'll ever know why such a blanket "I hate women" complaint option existed on that page so long - 10 years, according to Krulewitz. And we sure as hell will never understand why some viewers feel the need to express - either in their homes, at bars, on a public forums or in comment boxes - such blatant sexism.
Ten years ago, ESPN made a bold move in allowing women to call play-by-play in college football. A degree of backlash was understandable.
But it's 2012. As a country, we should have progressed further.
I spoke to a reporter Friday morning and he asked me my thoughts on the discrepancy between the number of female play-by-play commentators vs. sideline reporters.
To me, it's about talent. It's by no means an issue of gender, and discussions should revolve around the merits of the individual.
As a female journalist, I won't let my accidental discovery taint my views on sports writing or broadcasting.
I'm moving forward with my talent and work ethic, and hoping it takes me where I want to go.
Megan Soisson is a junior health and societies major at the University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @msois.