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.