Sports | November 9, 2021 3:56 pm

Dan Orlovsky Has Some Very Dumb Ideas About “Avoiding Temptation”

"Never be one-on-one with a female" is creepy and insane advice

Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches play against the San Francisco 49ers December 15, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The former QB and current ESPN analyst wrote a rather tone-deaf piece on traveling with women.
Former NFL QB (and current ESPN analyst) Dan Orlovsky in his playing days
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky occasionally writes columns about parenting for Family First’s All Pro Dad blog, and his latest, titled “4 Ways to Avoid Temptation,” is a real doozy.

The premise of the column is that being on the road — as a professional athlete or otherwise — puts men in plenty of scenarios in which they’ll be tempted to cheat on their wives or do other things Orlovsky has deemed unsavory, like looking at pornography. “In the NFL, while defense is important, you won’t win if you never score,” he writes. “And it’s always easier to score while you’re on offense. With temptation, being on offense is about avoiding temptation.”

That’s extremely poorly written — any middle-school English teacher would surely point out to Orlovsky that using “temptation” twice in one sentence is clunky as hell — but it’s also a terrible metaphor. Avoiding temptation would obviously be playing defense in this situation, as you defend yourself from and attempt to evade whatever it may be that’s tempting you.

But unfortunately, Orlovsky’s bad writing isn’t the most offensive thing about the post. That’d be his recommendation that married men never spend time alone with women who aren’t their wives. “When I’m traveling, I’m usually on the road with a group of people,” he writes. “Even in the studio, there are lots of people around. So I’ll often go out with a group to enjoy dinner rather than be alone. We’ll tour a stadium or finish more preparation for work. And when I say I’m with a group, I mean group. Jon Kitna taught me to never be one-on-one with a female.”

That Mike Pence-style thinking is obviously incredibly presumptuous and creepy. At best, it implies that any woman he encounters is actively trying to sleep with him, and at worst, the implication is far more sinister — that, if left alone with an attractive woman, he wouldn’t be able to control himself and might assault her. If you can’t trust yourself to sit alone with a woman and treat her like a human being instead of an object — a friend, a colleague, literally anyone you’re not attempting to have sex with — that’s a you problem. People who are married or in relationships walk through life every single day interacting with members of the opposite sex (many of whom they may even find attractive!) and manage to not cheat on their significant others or sexually assault someone. It’s extremely easy!

But beyond being extremely antiquated and sexist, the “never be alone with a woman” rule is harmful. It prevents women from having access to the same professional opportunities as their male counterparts, especially in industries where after-work drinks or dinners play a big role in networking. Women shouldn’t be held back and left out simply because men like Orlovsky can’t trust themselves to keep it in their pants.