September 17, 2010
One day after getting blasted by the press for having the audacity to give his opinion about the Ines Sainz situation, Clinton Portis(notes) opted to muzzle himself on Thursday to make sure he didn't say anything else that would get him into trouble.
With the aid of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(notes) (good to see he's doing something productive this season), Portis covered his mouth with electrical tape and held up pre-written signs when reporters circled his locker to ask follow-up questions about his Sainz comments, according to the Washington Post. The day before, Portis had said that it was only natural that a woman was going to be interested in one of 53 players in the locker room and that those 53 men were probably going to look at said woman as well.
This prompted a media blow-up because Portis dared talk in shades of gray rather than black and white. He didn't follow the pre-prescribed talking points ("the Jets are pigs," "a locker room needs a tolerant place") and instead chose to give his opinion about why something happened, not what should have happened.
Bad choice. Unless Portis is angling for a post-NFL career as a Charles Barkley-like analyst, he needs to learn that it never pays to say anything remotely interesting (or controversial or political) to the press. It will always get blown out of proportion, particularly when the media is circling and trying to turn an isolated incident in the Jets locker room into an excuse to have a larger discussion that nobody outside the press corps really cares about. (If this were a systemic problem, don't you think we'd have heard about it by now? Some boorish behavior in one locker room means the whole NFL is misogynistic? One incident makes not an epidemic.)
But now I'm not following the lead of Portis. The best thing to do is not to say anything and Portis seems to have learned that lesson, albeit 24 hours late. (Take note, Brian Baldinger.)
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