Women in Sports Media
Ines Sainz was just trying to do her job…well allegedly.
About a week ago, reports surfaced that Sainz, a female journalist for a Mexican television station, had been harassed while attending a New York Jets practice in pursuit of a story on Mark Sanchez, the football team’s quarterback. Allegedly, Sainz, and admittedly attractive woman, was harassed by Jets players in the team locker room and on the practice field. The <em>New York Post reported that a coach purposely threw passes that landed near Sainz on the sidelines and players made suggestive comments in the locker room directed towards Sainz.
The Jets public relations’ team unsurprisingly issued an immediate public apology to Sainz, which she publicly accepted. However, the issue did not immediately go away. A day later, Clinton Portis, a football player for the Washington Redskins, told the Washington D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan radio station the following:
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 a 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.
Listen, these are painted on jeans. She’s got a shirt that’s glued to her body. There is nothing out of place. If you want her to do an interview with Mark Sanchez, 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 claims on harassment…I think she is just inviting it all upon herself.
Baldinger also said that Sainz was “just asking for it” based on the clothes she wears and her attractiveness.
Man is there a lot to say here, but I’ll try to keep it relatively short. While Baldinger’s remarks were obviously misogynistic and ignorant, he makes a sensible point in saying that Sainz should not have been allowed in the locker room. Locker rooms are a private situation that is teeming with testosterone, and allowing an attractive reporter into that setting seems to be inviting trouble. It’s not a case of restricting the rights of women reporters (she can still do her interview, but in a different setting), but is rather a case of sensibility. Women reporters don’t need to be in that particular setting to do their job well, just as men that cover women’s sports shouldn’t be allowed/don’t need to be in women’s team locker rooms as well.
As for Baldinger’s statement that Sainz was asking for it based on her appearance, I cannot possibly defend that opinion. While any reporter should be dressing professionally, it’s hard to draw a line there that can be agreed upon by everyone. No one is in any place to tell Sainz what she should or should not wear, as long as it is professional and respectable.
However, this brings up the question of whether women are afforded equal opportunity in sports media. What does everyone think?