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NFL locker rooms: female reporters not the only controversy
With the latest NFL locker room controversy surrounding the New York Jets and Mexican reporter, Ines Sainz, NFL locker rooms are demanding closer scrutiny. With the ignorance of players like Clinton Portis(notes) standing as an example of NFL locker room culture, one might be inclined to wonder how it took this long to explode. However, females in NFL locker rooms are only a tiny fraction of the problems that may exist behind those NFL locker room doors. Controversy comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most controversial problems facing NFL locker rooms:
Females reporting from NFL locker rooms
Allegations flew just this week about several Jets players harassing a Mexican female reporter named Ines Sainz, and the NFL's locker room reputation has quite the black eye because of it. To make matters worse, Clinton Portis then went on radio station WJFK-FM in D.C. and spewed even more ignorance. He stated in part:
"And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages."
His comments quickly put him in hot water with virtually everyone and he quickly moved to apologize.
While certainly this incident has brought the problem of women in NFL locker rooms to the forefront, the history of the problem dates back to 1985, when the NFL changed their policy on the matter to allow women inside. In 1990, Lisa Olsen was allegedly taunted by New England Patriots players. Three players and the Patriots franchise were fined. There are also countless problems that have cropped up within MLB baseball locker rooms involving female reporters so the problem is not confined to only football.
The ramifications for the Jets players are yet to be determined.
Hazing rituals in NFL locker rooms
Hazing has been in the public eye this season as well, with the refusal of Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant(notes) to partake of the "festivities" as one NFL player called it. Bryant refused to carry equipment and to join in other rookie rituals as a personal statement, but it sent waves throughout NFL locker rooms. Today's NFL rituals in the locker room are rather tame in comparison to the hazing of old. Back then, a rookie was forced to do things such as take gut punches or sit in a crushed-ice bath tub after practice. Being taped to the goalposts was also fairly common.
While many NFL players felt that Bryant should have accepted the hazing, others saw his point and the situation soon blew over. Hazing is likely much more common than we know, however, due to close-lipped traditions and rookie's fear of not fitting in with their new teams.
Homosexuals in NFL locker rooms
In 2006, former New York Giant offensive lineman Roy Simmons interviewed with CNN Correspondent Heidi Collins and revealed that he was gay. His admission and subsequent revelations about the NFL locker room bias against gays led to a firestorm of media attention on the controversial subject. Simmons talked about how hiding his homosexuality eventually led to a drug and alcohol addiction. He also felt that being gay was worse than being a wife beater, among other controversial allegations about NFL culture.
Over the years, others have made similar claims and the issue has never fully been resolved. Like women in NFL locker rooms, the issue remains a powder keg waiting to explode.
*Note: This article was written by an Associated Content Contributor. To become a Contributor and start publishing your own sports articles, go to Associated Content.
Dan Wetzel, "Portis voices misguided ugliness in NFL culture" Yahoo Sports
Melissa Bell, "Ines Sainz and a short history of female reporters in locker rooms" The Washington Post
Les Carpenter, "Time for rookie hazing to end" Yahoo Sports
Hedi Collins, "Gay former NFL player tackles demons" CNN.com
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