When a bar near Washington, D.C., refused to change one of its televisions from the NFL to Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Storm and Mystics, it outraged Natasha Cloud enough to take to social media, eventually receiving an apology from Glory Days Grill.
Charissa Bauhaus, the director of marketing for Glory Days Grill, issued an apology Tuesday after Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud said her family was denied a request to show Game 2 of the WNBA Finals at the sports-themed restaurant chain’s Alexandria, Va., location on Sunday.
“Our policy is to accommodate all requests for games whenever possible, and we want to issue a public apology to Natasha Cloud, the Mystics, and all fans of women’s sports who feel that we let them down,” Bauhaus wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “We recognize and admire the work these women have put in to get where they are, and we are committed to celebrating them EVERY DAY (and not just during the Playoffs).”
In an Instagram story on Monday, one day after the Mystics lost to the Storm, 75-73, in Seattle, Cloud said her family was denied an opportunity to watch the game. The Mystics now trail the best-of-five series two-games-to-none.
“Apparently @glorydaysgrill in Alexandria Virginia doesn’t support women’s sports … especially their HOMETOWN TEAM,” Cloud wrote. “Denied my family the ability to watch my game broadcasted on @espn yesterday. Out of all 30 screens … 1 couldn’t be turned to women’s basketball because “football” was on.”
Sunday’s Mystics game, broadcast on ABC, tipped off at 3:30 p.m ET, when most of the NFL’s early Week 1 games were in the fourth quarter. Four more pro football games, including the Washington NFL team’s season opener in Arizona, kicked off between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Bauhaus reached out to Cloud via Twitter on Monday night to apologize after screenshots of Cloud’s Instagram story began circulating on social media.
2018 WNBA CHAMPS!
Seattle sweeps Washington 3-0
In a phone interview, Bauhaus said she had not heard back from Cloud as of Tuesday morning. When asked about Sunday’s incident after practice on Tuesday, Cloud indicated she wasn’t satisfied with the restaurant’s initial apology via Twitter.
“In my mind it was a half-assed apology,” Cloud said. “My family came to watch the game. They were super excited on Sunday afternoon before any football game really started. This place is really cool. They have a bunch of screens. They have at the table where you can turn on the volume for what specific TV you want. So my family literally asked for the smallest television to be turned on to a WNBA game, and the manager on spot basically laughed in their face.”
One Twitter user replied to a reporter’s tweet featuring a screenshot of Cloud’s Instagram story to say that it’s “standard for most bars” to show nothing but football on NFL Sundays, especially opening weekend.
“So you’re telling me,” Cloud replied. “When my family asked for the smallest TV to be [switched] to the WNBA (one TV) they couldn’t accommodate? For A HOMETOWN TEAM. If it was the Wizards it wouldn’t be a question. AND it was the Cowboys …”
“In order to change our viewership we need support,” Cloud later tweeted.
“It just reinforces what Serena [Williams] was doing this weekend to the sexism that comes with sports,” Cloud said Tuesday, referring to the controversy in the U.S. Open women’s final that has sparked conversations about double standards for male and female athletes. “You’re a sports bar. We play a sport, and your customer who’s going to pay you money is asking for you to accommodate them just for one TV, not a big one, not one in the prime center at the bar or anything. Off to the side, and they can just listen. They don’t even really have to see it, and you can’t even accommodate one TV to support your hometown team?”
“I’m a woman,” Bauhaus said. “I think when people think of sports bars sometimes, they think of a man-run business. We are owned by men, of course, but I’m a pretty high-ranking female in the organization and I can tell you this is certainly not reflecting our beliefs.”
The Mystics take on the Storm in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday at George Mason’s EagleBank Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 8 p.m., and yes, it will be on at Glory Days in Alexandria.
“We’re going to be turning Wednesday’s game into a bit of a rally in Alexandria as an apology and a thank you,” Bauhaus said. “We’ll be giving away a lot of Mystics gear. … We definitely want to make sure that we do right by Mystics fans in Alexandria.”