We thought we had covered every angle of the Ines Sainz controversy ... at least until former NFL player and current FOX/NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger decided to lose his mind and say what a lot of people are evidently thinking about the whole thing.
For those in need of the Cliff's Notes version: Sainz, an admittedly attractive reporter for the Mexican station TV Azteca, was allegedly harassed by several members of the New York Jets' roster and coaching staff in practice and in the team's locker room. The media frenzy that followed has taken several different paths. Some people see this as a referendum on not allowing women in NFL locker rooms at all (judging from the temperature of my Inbox, the thoughts on that concept are depressingly stuck in the Stone Age). Some see Sainz as a figure who takes feminism backward by providing eye candy. And there are those who believe that because Sainz doesn't dress in Amish fashion, she deserves whatever she gets. No public figure was actually dumb enough to say that in a public forum ... until now.
The winner of our booby prize (pun unfortunately very much intended) goes to Baldinger, who had a lot to say about the alleged incident on the Tony Bruno show on 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia. First, on "scouting" Sainz at the Super Bowl four years ago:
"We know a blue-chipper when we see one. [...] This girl is in a category all for herself. I wish I was on the Jets practice field and they [were] throwing me pass patterns by her as well. You would have seen me stumbling to get to her."
Then, on the controversy now surrounding Sainz...
"Listen, I don't know what she covers for that station in Mexico. If you come into the NFL dressed the way that she is dressed you are just asking for it. I don't know how you can justify any of the actions. Boys will be boys I guess."
OK. Since Baldy had thrown away the shovel and was now burying himself with a backhoe, he was asked whether whether she dresses appropriately for the locker room:
"Listen, these are painted on jeans. She's got a shirt that is just glued to her body. There is nothing out of place. If you want her to walk up there and do an interview with Mark Sanchez(notes), put her in a room with Mark Sanchez. Don't take her through the locker room. I don't think the Jets are wrong in any of this. I don't think they have to apologize for any of this. And for her to make any claims on harassment or of any harassment issues, I think she is just inviting it all upon herself in this case."
It's hard to know where to begin after that. I asked Cindy Boren of the Washington Post to add her thoughts on this debacle. Cindy was the Post's NFL editor for seven years, and currently keeps busy as the Post's Social Media Editor and blogger at The Early Lead.
"I wish we had more information on exactly what happened in that locker room but, that said, no matter what Ines Sainz was wearing, she in no way deserved to be harassed for it," Cindy told me. "Does she have to wear a flour sack into the locker room? There's no justification for harassment, no matter what someone is wearing. That's a really abhorrent notion, and one that doesn't stand up in court.
"Again, it baffles me that we aren't beyond this and I suppose we're doomed to revisit the issue every few years. All women reporters ask is for equal access, and to be allowed to do our jobs on a level playing field."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Grow up, Baldy. We thought you were better than this.
- Brian Baldinger