Leffell School Student Creates an Innovative App To Champion Gender Equality

Nathaniel Yellin

Nathaniel Yellin of Scarsdale, a 16-year-old student, has conducted a new study that reveals the significant gender bias in the sports media coverage of female athletes, and in particular, college basketball players. Yellin has pursued his passions for sports, data science and inspiring change through the creation of an organization and interactive R Shiny application SIDELINED (best viewed on a laptop/desktop). Using Natural Language Processing techniques, Yellin scrutinizes more than 1,700 ESPN articles from ESPN.com to expose the discrepancies in media coverage of male and female D1 college basketball athletes.

 

SIDELINED is innovative and impressive. The interactive R Shiny application Yellin created invites users to interact with data visualizations and view word clouds to evaluate for themselves the extent to which gender bias exists at the league level in the sports media coverage of D1 basketball. Even more fascinating is the fact that users can also search in SIDELINED for specific teams and players to assess what gender bias exists in sports media reporting at these levels as well. The findings of SIDELINED are significant, demonstrating that a bias exists based on the quantity of articles published for male and female athletes, the sentiment of adjectives used to describe players of both genders, and how media coverage correlates differently with player performance based on gender.

 

“This study highlights the ongoing issue of gender bias in sports media coverage,” said Yellin, the founder of the organization and creator of the App SIDELINED. “Female basketball players are just as talented and accomplished as their male counterparts, but they are often overlooked or dismissed in media coverage. This not only perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes, but it also limits the visibility and recognition of female athletes and affects their performance and unfairly the income they receive as NIL athletes and ultimately, professional basketball players.”

 

Through Sidelined, Nathaniel Yellin hopes that his study will raise awareness of the gender bias that exists in sports media reporting and encourage the NCAA and media outlets to take steps towards more equitable and inclusive coverage of all athletes, regardless of gender.

 

Yellin, a high school junior at the Leffell School in Hartsdale, loves to share his passions with others and make a difference in the world around him. A congregant with his family of Young Israel of Scarsdale, “I am grateful for the dedicated teachers who have ignited and supported my passion for learning as well as the diverse community that embraces individuality,” mentions Yellin. ‘Leffell has been a treasure trove of relationships, experiences and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

 

He founded and writes for his NFL sports analytics blog, Field General Analytics, teaches math to children through the lens of sports and art in his Math4Kicks program (IG:math4kicks), and also hosts a podcast, It’s Statistically Significant, where he discusses statistics concepts to educate students. When he isn’t teaching, writing about or analyzing sports or statistics, you can find him playing baseball or pickleball with friends and his four siblings.