April 6, 2024

Kamala Harris Misstates Women's Basketball Bracket History

Vice President Kamala Harris recently drew attention for inaccurately stating that women’s basketball teams were not allowed to use brackets until 2022, sparking a wave of corrections and clarification from her team.

This faux pas was promptly addressed, revealing that women’s NCAA tournaments have been using brackets since 1982, not 2022, as Harris claimed, as Breitbart notes.

In an interview with Spectrum News, Harris attempted to highlight what she saw as a milestone in the history of women’s sports. She stressed the importance of visibility for women’s teams, suggesting that the introduction of brackets would foster greater discussion and viewership.

Her enthusiasm for advancing the visibility of women’s sports underscored her advocacy for equity between men’s and women’s sports.

However, this claim quickly came under scrutiny. Historical records show that the women’s NCAA tournament has been employing brackets since its inception in 1982. This 40-year tradition directly contradicts the vice president’s statement, highlighting a significant lapse in accuracy regarding the history of women’s basketball.

Tracing Back the History

Another layer to this story involves Harris and her husband, Doug, who publicly filled out brackets for the women’s tournament in 2021. This act contradicts Harris’s 2022 statement, further complicating the narrative and suggesting either a misunderstanding or misstatement regarding the timeline of events in women's basketball history.

The vice president’s office later clarified that Harris intended to reference the application of the "March Madness" trademark to the women’s tournament, which indeed occurred in 2022. This correction aims to narrow down the inaccuracy to the terminology rather than the existence of brackets in women’s basketball. The trademark inclusion is seen as a significant step towards equal recognition for women’s sports, aligning with Harris's advocacy for increased visibility.

Despite this clarification, the initial misunderstanding highlights the challenges in ensuring accurate historical representation, especially when discussing the progress of women’s sports. The narrative surrounding women's sports is filled with struggles for equality and recognition, making factual accuracy crucial for meaningful discourse.

The Impact of Visibility

Harris’s original statement and its subsequent clarification have ignited discussions on the visibility and recognition of women’s sports. By emphasizing the significance of the "March Madness" brand, Harris aimed to underline the progress made towards gender equity in sports broadcasting and fandom. Her message, though marred by factual inaccuracies, ultimately points to a broader ambition for equal representation in sports.

During her interview, Harris passionately described the impact of allowing women to use brackets in the context of March Madness. “This is the reality," Harris added, stressing the importance of visibility and interest in women’s sports. She posited that drawing attention to women's basketball could shift perceptions and bolster interest, aligning with her broader goals for gender equality in sports.

A spokesperson for Harris provided further context to her statements, emphasizing that the Vice President’s comments were specifically about the branding of the women's tournament, not the concept of brackets, which have been a part of women’s NCAA basketball for decades.

A Clarification Necessary

This incident sheds light on the complexities surrounding discussions of progress in women’s sports.

While the extension of the "March Madness" branding to women's basketball in 2022 was a milestone worth celebrating, the miscommunication serves as a reminder of the importance of precision in public discourse about sports history.


Vice President Kamala Harris's statement regarding the history of women's basketball brackets was corrected to clarify that she intended to highlight the recent extension of the "March Madness" trademark to women's basketball in 2022, not the introduction of brackets which have been in use since 1982.

This correction underscored the significance of factual accuracy, especially in discussions on the progress of women’s sports towards equality. While Harris aimed to promote visibility and interest in women's sports, the incident highlights the broader challenges in ensuring accurate representation and recognition in the narrative of sports history.

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