September 14, 2010
We've already reported the alleged incident between Mexican television reporter Inés Sainz of TV Azteca and the New York Jets. Sainz (who has managed to turn this into quite the little media circus) went on the "Today" show on Tuesday morning and explained a bit more of her take on things.
Now, we're seeing an interesting cultural backlash. Some are saying that by using her looks to further her career, Sainz should have expected the treatment she allegedly received from the team. It's an interesting, if wrong-headed, notion that reminds me of USA Today reporter Christine Brennan's take on the Erin Andrews "peephole" incident via The Big Lead:
On the Erin Andrews situation, a quick thought for those who have asked: There are hundreds of women covering sports in this country who haven't had this happen to them. I wish it didn't happen to Erin, but I also would suggest to her if she asked (and she hasn't) that she rely on her talent and brains and not succumb to the lowest common denominator in sports media by playing to the frat house.
That's a commendable concept, but like many of the public takes on Sainz after the incident, there's an alarming undercurrent of "she was asking for it." Sure, it's entirely possible that without her looks, Sainz wouldn't get anywhere near a professional microphone. But it's also entirely possible that she might be able to "transcend" the stereotype that a pretty person (male or female) must debit points from their intelligence simply because he/she doesn't fit someone else's cultural, moral or ethical stereotype.
This reminds me too much of the "Women shouldn't be in the locker room at all!" comments that hit my inbox after I put up the post linked above. Sainz shouldn't have to meet Brennan's or anyone else's standards except for her own, her employer's and those of the teams she covers. If every female sports reporter hits the locker room in full Amish attire, we'll know they're serious. But why should they have to?
On the other side, there were the comments made on a radio show by Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, who's probably having an interesting talk with the team's PR staff Tuesday. As reported by D.C. Sports, Portis said:
"You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman. For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can't interact and you can't be involved with athletes, you can't talk to these guys, you can't interact with these guys.
Well, that'll blow this thing wide open. Sheriff Gonna Getcha may have to turn in his badge. Think he's alone on that island? Not at all. Here was Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett's(notes) take:
I don't know what was said to her or whatever but u just have to know u going into a TEAM LOCKEROOM, and if its that serious WOMEN STAY OUT!
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