Mexican television reporter Ines Sainz attended the New York Jets’ practice Saturday to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. An assistant coach allegedly threw passes in Sainz’ direction to get players close to her. In the locker room, some players allegedly used inappropriate and disrespectful language to — or in reference to — Sainz. She tweeted that she was embarrassed, a few other members of the media reported the incidents in question and — boom — the story exploded.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t the first time a female reporter has been harassed in the locker room of a professional sports team. It also won’t be the last.
Whether we like it or not — and whether we like to admit it or not — we’re still racist and we’re still sexist. Not all of us, but there’s still a fraction of society that discriminates and there’s still a large fraction of men who cross the line when it comes to how to treat women in the workplace (or any place, for that matter).
Incidents like these are inevitable. Inexcusable, but inevitable. Female sports reporters know that they’re going to run the risk of facing humiliating moments when they get into the industry, and almost all of them end up encountering such moments. I know quite a few female media members who have been in Sainz’ shoes in one form or another.
That said, Ines Sainz is not a typical female reporter…
That’s a picture of Sainz at Super Bowl XLII … as the subject of an interview, not the interviewer.
That’s a shot of Sainz at Super Bowl XLIII, measuring biceps as part of a “strongest arm competition.” Hard-hitting stuff.
The whole “she had it coming” defence is archaic, isn’t it? Aren’t we past that? Shouldn’t men know better, regardless of how much a female is “asking for it”? So again, there’s no excuse for the alleged behaviour of certain members of the Jets.
Sainz doesn’t dress appropriately and, by all accounts, she playfully flirts with players. So let’s not hand these guys life sentences in the court of public opinion for playfully flirting back.
The nature of the comments made by the players in question isn’t clear. But if purposely overthrowing a few footballs to get players closer to a famously sexy TV personality with an amorous shtick is going too far, then maybe it’s a sign that the reporter herself should consider changing her goofy approach, buying a sweater and doing some real reporting.
This shouldn’t turn into a broad debate regarding the presence of female journalists in locker rooms. It’s funny: our great-grandparents would have scoffed at the notion of a woman in a man’s world. We’ve made a ton of progress since Lisa Olson was — as she put it — “mind raped” in the Patriots locker room 20 years ago.
But do the math. In testosterone-enriched pro sports locker rooms, where generally rich, spoiled, poorly-educated and misbehaved men drastically outnumber the women, we’re bound to have issues.
And although the men are at fault, problems like these would be limited if female reporters like Sainz avoided encouraging a frat-house atmosphere.