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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Kunal muses on the latest NFL scandal

I would like to preface this column by thanking Professor Simpson for writing a fantastic piece in last week’s paper and ensuring that no matter what I write this week, I am going to look like an idiot. Seriously, how am I supposed to follow that kind of article? I decided that the best way to go was to write about something controversial…mainly because controversy attracts eyeballs, but also because I really want to spark a debate and generate reader feedback. When the Ines Sainz story broke earlier this week, I knew I had found exactly what I was going to write about for my column.
For those of you who haven’t heard the story I’m referring to, here’s a brief summary—Ines Sainz, an extremely attractive reporter for a Mexican TV channel was subjected to sexually suggestive comments in the New York Jet’s locker room while waiting to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. Supposedly, the Jets’ Defensive Backs Coach purposely threw passes that landed near Sainz on the sideline so that players could get close to her. Sainz tweeted that she was “dying of embarrassment,” and that the Jets’ behavior can only be described as “idiotic.” The story took an additional twist when Washington Redskins’ running back Clinton Portis remarked on the situation. “You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s going to want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s [bodies]. I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m going to cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.” Portis apologized soon after those comments were made, but several players, coaches and other people close to the game have echoed the sentiment of his remarks.
I think it is pretty evident that the actions of the Jets’ players and coaches and the remarks of Clinton Portis are really stupid. It is a shame that the actions of a few individuals will serve to further the stereotype of the dumb, bursting at the seams with machismo, football player. Perhaps there is some merit, however, in the argument that if Ines Sainz wants to be treated like a professional, she should act like one. Respected sports reporter Jemele Hill writes, “I’m having a hard time feeling sympathetic for someone who at times carries herself in a manner that insults some women in this business.” Sainz works for a TV station that has a track record of putting attractive female reporters in compromising situations with athletes, and a Google image search shows that Sainz doesn’t necessarily don the most professional journalistic attire. Furthermore, Sainz has a history of utilizing a flirty reporting style that cuts substance by the wayside, such as touching players’ biceps as part of her “strongest arm competition.” If Sainz carried herself more like Jemele Hill, would she have been subjected to same kind of treatment? Somehow, I doubt it.
On the other hand, though, does Sainz deserve to be disrespected like she was because of her revealing clothes and fluffy reporting style? Most everybody can agree that she does not deserve such treatment, but Jemele Hill and others have panned the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) for publicly voicing its support for Sainz. Sainz might not be the ideal candidate to act as a martyr for this very serious issue, gender inequality in the workplace, but her story clearly shows that sexism still exists in sports and sports culture, even in this day and age. AWSM Board Member Joanne Gerstner puts it best, “You can’t say if it’s wrong for one person but it’s right for the others. It’s an attitude. We want to show we’re watching. We demand to have courtesy, respect and professionalism in the locker room.” While the AWSM may be fighting an uphill battle, it’s nice to know there are professional athletes in the world like New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara, who gave the following response when asked about his reaction to the Sainz incident. “No matter what you say about it, whether you want to try to be politically correct or whatever, it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to me to have any media in the locker room and I think it’s also [uncomfortable] for the women in the locker room. But all they want is to do their jobs and be treated fairly.” Amen, Shaun. Amen.

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