When Robin Herman ’73 joined The Daily Princetonian staff in 1970, the newspaper’s practice was to give each reporter a news beat and a sports beat. But when she looked at the assignments, her name was not listed on the sports sheet. The editors assumed that Herman, part of the first cohort of undergraduate women at Princeton, would not want to cover sports.
“It struck me as inequitable,” Herman says, so she spoke up. “It was a reflex, really.” She volunteered to cover rugby and later moved on to men’s squash, men’s tennis, and football before becoming co-editor of the section.
After graduation, Herman went to work for The New York Times and joined a small, determined group of women sportswriters who broke barriers in the profession, including the denial of access for locker-room interviews. Their stories are the basis of the new documentary Let Them Wear Towels, which premieres July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film is part of the network’s “Nine for IX” series, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
Herman tells her Prince story in Let Them Wear Towels and shares other memories from her years covering professional hockey for The New York Times. Princeton’s decision to admit women was “one of the links in the chain” of her career, she says: She didn’t mind working in a predominantly male field because her four years on campus had acclimated her to that kind of environment.