In light of the Ines Sainz controversy, NFL players are chiming in about whether "a woman's place is in the locker room." Sainz is the hottie Latina reporter who was apparently the target of cat calls and school boy behavior from Jets players during a training camp visit. The Association for Women in Sports Media immediately had her back, calling for the league to look into the harassment claims, claims Sainz herself apparently didn't make but that were made on her behalf. And then there's the issue of the female reporter wearing what I would wear to a Labor Day picnic to her job. (Sorry, but how many of your employers allow a low cut tank top and camel toe skinny jeans at the office?)
All this brou ha ha has prompted emotional reactions from NFL players like the Redskins Clinton Portis, who is known for his "talk first, think later... much later" approach. Earlier this week, Porits said:
I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages. And you're just sitting here, saying 'Oh, none of this is attractive to me.' I know you're doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I'm gonna cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I'm sure they do the same thing.
Portis has since apologized for his remarks and did what we all wanted to do, which is put black tape over his mouth at a proceeding news conference. Meanwhile, Chicago Bear Lance Briggs took things a step further, saying women don't belong in the locker room at all. After all, there are half naked men walking around, schlongs barely concealed by thin, white towels.
(Said with overly dramatic Scarlett O'Hara accent) "Well fiddle-dee-dee! All these man parts have me catchin' the vapors, sugar!"
Let's all put a brown paper bag over our mouths for a moment and get a grip. While it's true female sports reporters have a much finer line to walk as it relates to being taken seriously than their male counterparts, many have accomplished the feat for decades without causing a national uproar. The bottom line is, professionalism is a two way street. Yes, the Jets players who made cat calls to Sainz were acting like prepubescent imbeciles and the league was right to put them in check. But it's also true that Sainz probably should rethink some of the Malibu Barbie outfits she's worn to work. I'm sure there aren't many male sports reporters walking around with "wife-beater" tank tops on and a pair of biker shorts. Why should women get a pass for crossing the "casual Friday" line? With that said, I also think it's unfair to imply that Sainz had some sort of sinister motive for her choice of attire. If anything, it was a case of poor judgment. Plus, it's not like she's the one who got bent out of shape by how the players were acting.
As for the locker room debate, I've interviewed a number of NFL players. In fact, I interviewed several Saints players in the locker room after their Super Bowl win. Some of them were fully dressed, others not so much. And somehow, some way, I managed to not push any of them into a shower stall in some lust-filled, out of body experience. In fact, there were several other female sports reporters present who seemed to have no problems containing themselves. Go figure.
I have HBO, people. I gotta say, neither a random man's bare chest nor his love stick does much to rattle my cage these days. I can still produce sentences, engage in conversation and do, you know, what a journalist does. And forgive me Lance Briggs, but I gotta say that if any NFL player had the potential to send a woman over the edge in the locker room, he'd probably be more of the Darren Sharper variety, and not a tubby linebacker. You're in the clear, toots.
If Briggs is uncomfortable with his locker room privacy being invaded, then he should call on all journalists to be barred from locker room interviews. Men seem to be able to control themselves in the locker rooms for post game WNBA interviews. Something tells me us lady folk, on the whole, can survive a few minutes surrounded by men who smell like an old sock. While your penises may fascinate you and command tons of your time and attention, allow me to speak on the behalf of female journalists everywhere when I say wholeheartedly, "Meh..."