Sep 21, 2010

Are athletes or reporters to blame?

by Kelly Marvel

 

The NFL football season has gotten off to an interesting start, especially for the New York Jets.  Not only did they lose their Monday Night Football week one debut against the Ravens, but now they have a scandal on their hands.  

Ines Sainz, a reporter from the Mexican network TV Azteca, visited a Jets practice Saturday, Sept. 11 to do an interview with quarterback Mark Sanchez, according to ESPN.  Sainz was standing on the sidelines watching the practice when Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman supposedly began a throwing drill in Sainz’s direction so the players could be near her.  Later, as she was waiting for Sanchez in the locker room with two male co-workers, players allegedly cat-called to her and used some inappropriate language. 

Sainz tweeted later that she was “dying of embarrassment” and since then, the incident has blown up into a national story.  Sainz appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, and on NBC’s Today Show and downplayed her experience to host Meredith Viera.  

Since this story went public, the NFL has quickly taken action.  They sent a memo to all 32 teams reminding them of the equal access and conduct policies toward members of the media.  According to CBS News, the memo said, “Women are a common part of the sports media.  By law, women must be granted the same rights to perform their jobs as men. Please remember that women reporters are professionals and should be treated as such.”

The players definitely acted inappropriately in this situation.  There is no questioning that.  A woman should never be harassed in the workplace, even if her workplace is an NFL locker room.

But are the players really the only people to blame for this inappropriate incident?  Sainz has made a spectacle of herself at several big-time NFL venues.  During last year’s Super Bowl media day, she went around with a measuring tape to find out which NFL player had the biggest biceps.  She is less than professionally dressed at most of her reporting events.  When her name is Googled, pictures of her dressed in bikinis and provocative evening wear are first to appear.

Female reporters need to learn how to carry themselves to prevent his kind of behavior from happening.  How can a woman expect to be treated like a professional if she is dressed for a night on the town?

Ashley Fox, an NFL Insider columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, put it this way.

“You also don’t walk into an NFL locker room wearing jeans that leave little to the imagination and blouse that reveals your substantial cleavage.  You don’t have to dress ultra-conservatively, but you have to be smart.  If you want to be treated like a girl at a bar, dress like a girl at a bar.  If you want to be treated professionally and without incident, cover up.”

 

MARVEL is the sports editor.


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