The Standard of Harassment

I rarely want to call radio shows.  But when I heard this story being discussed on two separate shows, I found myself talking to the radio, nearly screaming at it, and stomping around my kitchen, slamming pots in my indignance.  Yes, indignance.

Here’s the situation.  Inez Sainz, self-professed “sexiest woman in sports reporting”, and  a reporter for Mexican TV Azteca, was awaiting an interview with Mark Sanchez in the locker room of the New York Jets before their game on Sunday.  As she waited, other players (one report says that a coach was, too) were tossing footballs around, deliberately throwing them close to her so they, in turn, could get close to her.  She says that she didn’t think anything of it, until another reporter – a male – came up to her to say he was sorry these things were happening…and that people were making fun of her.  She maintains that the tone of the football players was joking and harmless, however, she Tweeted that she was uncomfortable in the situation, and the media picked up the story and ran with it.  Now it’s a Big Deal.

Here are her Tweets (translated from the original Spanish/Mexican).  It is unclear whether the Tweets took place before or after the other reporter informed her of the situation.

“I’m so uncomfortable. I’m in the locker room waiting for Mark Sanchez trying not to make eye contact.”

“Here because its the only way to interview him (Sanchez) before the game Monday. There is lots of male hormone in this environment.”

“I’m sorry, not even joking would I take a picture of this. I don’t even dare to turn around. I all I see is Mark’s locker but still want to cover my eyes.”

“Mission accomplished (interview). Mark Sanchez is a great guy. He is smart and intelligent. You can see his interview tomorrow in Ritual NFL

And that brings us to the radio shows this morning.  TWO male talk show hosts are saying that this was, indeed, harassment, because the men should have known better.

Excuse me?  Have any of you ever been in a locker room?  Male or female, it doesn’t matter.  What happens in there?  There are naked people.  Particularly before the sporting event (I’m thinking of swim meets), there’s a lot of trash-talking, athletes pumping themselves up before they go out to do battle.  And since I’m thinking of a high school girl’s locker room, I can only imagine how accelerated and inflated the behavior must be in an NFL locker room.  Take away the 1980’s timid girls, and replace them with full-grown men.  Add in testosterone.  Add in the professional athlete’s behavior, the gladiator mentality.  Now throw in a woman who looks – and regularly dresses – like this:

Seriously?  The MEN are at fault???  They were horsing around in a locker room.  NO PHYSICAL CONTACT took place.  No quotes have come out, and apparently, the worst verbal “abuse” that occurred was a wolf whistle.  The reporter didn’t even think anything untoward was happening until this male reporter came up to her and gave her his take on the situation.  And only then did she become “embarrassed”.  She isn’t filing a grievance, complaint, nothing.

The radio personalities that I heard this morning were both saying that there are “standards” that these men should be upholding.  Well, frankly, they WERE upholding standards – the standard that is present in a locker room before an event.  It’s not pretty in there, and they are there to do a job.  She chose to put herself in that situation, wearing painted-on jeans and a top cut ‘down to there’.  Incidentally, both men held the opinion that her clothing didn’t matter a whit.  That, apparently, the standards they are so fond of only apply to the men, and not to the behavior of the women.  Isn’t there  some standard that should apply there?

I will start thinking that this is harassment when I see male reporters conducting interviews from the locker room of the WNBA or the Women’s Professional Volleyball team, and “feeling embarrassed” because the women are commenting on the fit of his shirt and the drape of his pants.  THEN we can start discussing “standards” of behavior and “professional dress”.

Until then?  Wear appropriate clothing honey, and shore up that ego, because it’s gonna get dinged.  And Media?  Unclench.

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21 Responses to The Standard of Harassment

  1. Joy says:

    I heard this being discussed on a few other programs and I even thought of doing a post on it myself and then I saw yours in the can and thought, “oh goody I don’t have to.”

    First let me say that in no way shape or form do I think or feel anyone “deserves” anything to happen to them because of the way they dressed or what they wore. Rape is a crime of violence and has nothing to do with the actual sexual act and stalking is also sick behavior and it has NOTHING to do with how you dress. BUT……when I first saw this woman’s choice of clothes to go to work in, my first thought went to all the other woman sports reporters who don’t flash around like she does and I wonder what they think of her dressing like she’s one of Hugh Hefner’s “Girls Next Door.” Does Erin Andrews, Michele Tafoya, Susie Kolber or Leslie Vissar dress like this? No, they dress appropriately for their jobs. What does this say to them? What would happen if a teacher wore stuff like this to work or a lawyer taking a case to a judge in court? Or a cashier or a long list of many jobs. It wouldn’t seem appropriate would it? It’s not appropriate for her to dress this way to cover a football game. You can tell she thinks she’s pretty special. Honestly, I’ve never heard of her until now and I watch a LOT of sports.

    I feel for anyone to be in a locker room, they should be a part of the team. From the coach’s to the water-boy. That’s it. Let them snap their towels and act like children and get ready for the game or celebrate afterwards. I feel there should be a “press room” where everyone should meet to talk to the media. I don’t even think it has anything to do with sex. It’s just, in my opinion, the locker-room is for the team. If my husband were in that locker-room, I wouldn’t want woman in there. Especially like this reporter dresses anywhere near my half naked getting out of the shower husband. It’s private.

    If this were the case, this wouldn’t have happened.

    • SKL says:

      I agree that it’s gross for anyone to have to interview athletes in the locker room. I understand that’s convenient and all that, but I don’t think it’s necessary. They ought to be able to set aside a small “interview space” curtained off from the people who are trying to change and shower. And, I was just thinking the other day – would women want men doing interviews in their locker room? Is it really fair to expect everyone to clench their towels tightly and run modestly behind a screen so some reporter can get his/her story?

      Now as to the dress. I think that in this day and age, if you want to look sexy to the opposite sex, that’s fine and dandy. But don’t pretend that you don’t know what that means. Don’t pretend that you didn’t actually intend for men to be casting lustful looks in your direction. If you want to be a “sexy sportscaster” icon, then you can’t complain when people view you as a sex object. Sorry. On what planet does a woman wear the pictured type of jeans without the intention of tempting men to want to grope her?

      I think the message people should be getting here is that NOTHING HAPPENED despite this woman’s inappropriate behavior.

  2. Sue says:

    I don’t think reporters should be or need to be in the locker room to do their interview. Come talk to me when you’ve showered the stench off.

  3. Mz. Sasha says:

    I’m so totally agreeing with you right now. Women who dress like that, know the kind of attention they get because they are seeking it. No, it doesn’t give anyone the right to harass them physically or verbally but you can’t bring steak to the cookout and expect people not to eat it!

  4. Jason says:

    Yea how could you take someone like this serious when you are all psyhc’d up for the game. As for reporters need to be in the locker room, I think that they should not be allowed maybe they could have an area where interviews can take place on the outside.

  5. Laura says:

    Just want to make it clear that I’m completely incensed over this *because* nothing happened… she dressed inappropriately, and should have expected men to be men. Which, honestly, I think *she* did… it was the rest of the PC-knee-jerk media that went stupid over this, followed by the NFL and the coaches/owners of the team.

    I would be saying something completely different had she been violated in any way. “Men are men” when they appreciate a beautiful woman, and they have every right to express that opinion – which is exactly what these guys did. Maybe they did it like 12-year-olds (seriously, throwing a ball to get near her? Totally 8th grade.), but they had every right to say something, as she was on “their turf”, dressed like THAT. If they’d crossed the line and manhandled her, I’d be all over this in a different way.

  6. shanef says:

    This whole thing is BS. First of all women reporters don’t belong in NFL locker rooms, or even male reporters. I remember last year they thought it would be a good idea to have live footage in the Minnesota Vikings locker room “after the game” and guess what happened. Visante shianco was on live tv with his dong hanging out. I don’t even think he realized the reporters where filming in there. Also if you dress like her and go into any NFL locker room what do you think will happen 9 out of 10 times?

  7. mssc54 says:

    “She says that she didn’t think anything of it, until another reporter – a male – came up to her to say he was sorry these things were happening…and that people were making fun of her.”

    In other words, Hey Female Reporter, I’m a male reporter and you are getting all the attention. YOU should be upset!

    TWEET: “I’m sorry, not even joking would I take a picture of this. I don’t even dare to turn around. I all I see is Mark’s locker but still want to cover my eyes.”

    Ummm what did you expect? You are in a friggn locker room!!

    “Embarrassed” is an internal emotion which can only be controlled by the individual. If she would only hang around men’s locker rooms when they are naked more often she would soon get over the “embarrassed” emotion.

    And yeh, where are all the male reporters reporting from the female athelets’ locker rooms?!

    But as usual, “It’s the mans fault.” Go figure.

  8. Nikki says:

    They, male or female, shouldn’t be allowed in the locker room. That should be their territory. If I were a reporter, I wouldn’t want to be in that stinky sweating locker room.

    I don’t think women deserve what they get, because of how they are dressed either. With that being said, their are women who do dress sexy for attention. And when you do that, you have to be willing to take the bad with the good. OR cover yourself up, or try to NOT paint your clothes on.

    If she wanted to be taken seriously, she failed when she left her house that morning. Really, go into a locker room, full of grown men, and you don’t expect some attention?! I don’t believe that for a second.

    She isn’t filing a complaint or grievance, but those men now have a reputation…if you are thick head enough to believe her.

  9. SKL says:

    Speaking of harassment, I just have to get something off my chest. I visited a public blog of a professional blogger that some of us know. I made a comment that touched a nerve (just a factual observation of something she already publicized, but to be honest, I knew it wasn’t going to be welcomed). This individual reacted to the extreme, including making extreme statements about me on her blog and sending me threatening emails.

    Her main theme was that I was harassing her and other bloggers (and the whole blogging world talks about whatever “that crazy SKL” has said now). Now the facts are, the only reason I ever found her site was that a friend informed me she’d posted a whole post trashing me. (She was angry at my response to her accusation on “that parenting site” that parents who spank are abusers.) Needless to say, I went to her site and told a bit of my side in the comments. Then I would periodically check back. Over the past couple of years I have maybe commented on 10 of her posts, and most of my comments were supportive. As a professional blogger, she blogs on some of the other sites I visit, and occasionally I post just like anyone else. Sometimes I agree/support, other times I disagree/offer constructive criticism. There have been a couple times when she’s sent me emails telling me she doesn’t understand me, but thanks for the nice comment. And I would reply with a pleasant response. That was the entire extent of my contact with her, up to yesterday. Does that sound like harassment to you?

    She put my first name, home state, and profession in her comments for all her fawning readers to see, and openly threatened to do more if I didn’t stop “harassing” her and other bloggers, which I guess means that I must never post an opinion under the name “SKL” again, or she’ll post all my particulars for the entire internet to see, and contact my boss, and who knows what else. Sounds professional, doesn’t it? Half of me wants to report her to the sites that she gets paid to blog for. It’s not that I want to hurt her, but shouldn’t someone tell her that she’s not allowed to disclose commenters’ personal information?

    I am also interested in knowing which other bloggers accuse me of harassment. There are very few professional bloggers whose personal blogs I’ve visited more than once, and it’s even more rare for me to leave a comment on personal blogs (other than this one). The only one that comes to mind, I’ve posted maybe 4 comments, all supportive, though maybe not always what the blogger expected to hear. (Note, my comments are usually in response to “what do you think” questions.) So I’m kinda flabbergasted if people are going to the annual BlogHer conference and exchanging horror stories about “that SKL.” I hope the angry blogger mentioned above was just exaggerating, like she did with the rest of her comments. Or, is it considered harassment to go to a public blog like ParentDish or CafeMom and comment on the bloggers’ posts?

    But hey, this may be the push I needed to get me off the internet for the most part. Hmph.

    • Joy says:

      OMG!!!! I just hate her. Now I’ll sound jr high-ish but she’s the reason I left that “other site” and started this one. Oh she used to piss me right off and all her cronies!!! I’m getting steamed up all over again. I really let her have it. Even if you use a different name, your ISP will be the same so she can see it “if” she wants to. Boy, what nerve she has. I haven’t been to her site in years. If you can’t tell, I can’t stand her. It started with that “now that I have kids, I don’t love my pet anymore” post and it went uphill from there.

      SKL, stop going over there. She has no right to do that. Isn’t there a blogging code of ethics? I would never publish anything about anybody.

      • Laura says:

        I suspect I had a run-in with that same blogger and her cronies… I just can’t remember the name.

        Honestly, some people have no class.

      • Nikki says:

        This all reminds me of that site we used go to, and that one women wrote about you, Joy. It amazes me, though it shouldn’t anymore, the nerve some people have.
        SKL, you’re too good for that crap. Don’t even give her the satisfaction of getting upset about it. 😉

        • Joy says:

          The thing with some people is if you don’t agree with them, you’re an idiot and the more of a “following” you have, the worse it can get because they all gang up on the “wrong” one. Sometimes, like the case of this person, she’s totally bizarre. She claimed one day about spanking your child scares them and who could do that to their child and the next day she wrote about how scared her son was of a wind up toy and how hard she laughed at him and he was so scared he tried running out the door and she was on the floor laughing him and when she realized he was “really” scared, he wouldn’t go to her. He was scared of here then. Everyone thought that was hilarious but if you smack your kid on there butt, your a bad parent. I blasted her after that and never made another comment on that site until she quit.

      • SKL says:

        I have no intentions of ever posting on her site again, but I may check for a few more days just to find out if she decides to trash me any more. I certainly wouldn’t put it past her. But what I’m hoping is that either a friend told her, or she realized later, that what she was doing could hurt her professionally if she didn’t stop it. I mean, she has paid advertising on her site, and her site is cross-referenced on the sites that pay her to blog, so she has to be a little responsible, right? Plus, maybe she got a clue when almost none of her other commenters jumped on the “trash SKL” bandwagon this time. I mean, if you have read her every day for a year and never saw one negative SKL comment in that time, are you gonna see harassment there just because of one sentence?

        By the way, her post was about being happy that she’s replaced her office job with professional, paid blogging, including 3 daily stories on a site I happen to visit. The post also was a whiney vent about how the “machine” of the work world is “broken” – as in, it’s everyone else’s fault that she didn’t have a job that made her happy. My comment was inspired by my irritation about the whining “it’s always someone else’s fault,” but I’m pretty sure the offending part was this comment: “Interesting that your new job largely involves making fun of people. A step up from the “machine,” in your opinion.” I mean, this is L.L., isn’t it? Make yourself happy by putting others down. But dare anyone reciprocate and there’ll be hell to pay.

        I should have known better, of course.

  10. lucy says:

    I pretty much agree with all of you! What on earth did she expect… she’s in a men’s locker room!! All kind of testosterone is flowing and you’d be naive to think that any good looking female can walk in there and not get noticed!!

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