Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is It Really Sexism If She Was Sorta Askin' For It?!?

My televised sports watching seldom includes anything other than basketball, but I'm well aware of the sideshow of sorts that follows some female sideline reporters and assorted sports personalities. ESPN's Erin Andrews has gone from co-ed wet dream, to stalking victim, to Dancing With The Stars primetime exposure, to Good Morning America in less than a year. There are entire websites dedicated to Fox's Jillian Barberie and ESPN's Jenn Brown. And you know brothas just loooove them some Pam Oliver.

I've always been a bit puzzled with the antics of some (emphasis: some) of these "sideline reporters". You could argue that they're there to report breaking news (ie: injury updates), but there's no reason why the folks in the booth couldn't just as easily relay said information. And on some occasions, I've seen Andrews' attire on ESPN college basketball broadcasts as a wee bit unprofessional for someone who allegedly wants to be taken seriously as a journalist. Watching her cluelessly stand with a mic oh-so-close to her mouth while drooling college kids watch in awe, it's almost as if she's "in on the joke". That said, if you're gonna have a person doing this meaningless job, it might as well be somebody who comes across as attractive onscreen. Lord knows how many buffalo wings have been lost when Tony Siragusa pops up after a commercial break. I bet even Mrs. Siragusa would choose to see Erin Andrews if given the choice.

A situation is brewing in NY Jets camp right now that puts the issue of sideline reporters and sexism under a microscope.
NFL boss Roger Goodell was demanding answers Sunday night from Jets' players and coaches accused of subjecting a female sports reporter to sexist locker room conduct.

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As they prepare for their season opener Monday night, Gang Green is dealing with a burgeoning scandal over the treatment of Ines Sainz, a sports reporter for TV Azteca of Mexico, during a weekend practice.

Sainz, 32, a former Miss Universe contestant, complained she was bombarded with catcalls and boorish antics at the Jets' New Jersey training facility to the extent she wanted to "cover my ears."

Sainz went to the Jets' Florham Park practice field Saturday to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. But while waiting for Sanchez, she was blitzed with reprehensible behavior.

Players and coaches seemed to intentionally overthrow passes in her direction, whistled at her, openly ogled her and blocked her path as she attempted to walk away.

Linebacker Jason Taylor reportedly volunteered for the passing drill in hopes of getting near Sainz. Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman fueled the antics, tossing pigskins in Sainz's direction.

Nose tackle Kris Jenkins shouted: "Don't let her act like she doesn't know English. She speaks English."

As the harassment went on, Sainz avoided eye contact with players, tweeting, "I am in the locker room of the Jets waiting for Mark Sanchez while trying not to look anywhere!"

Sainz defended her appearance at the practice session, insisting she dressed modestly. "Jeans and a white button-up blouse [are] in no way inappropriate," she tweeted, while posting a photo of her attire.
I'll be honest, I hadn't ever heard of Inez Sainz until I looked up info for this story, and well, let's just say her typical sideline attire is a little too racy for me to post here on AB.com. If you'd like to see more of her, uhhhh, professional talents, just go consult The Google. Don't worry, the link, and the photos on the Google Images page are indeed very safe for work. I just don't wish to post them here, for many, many reasons.

I don't doubt for one second that Ms. Sainz's claims are 100% legitimate. Pro athletes have long had tension with female reporters, culminating in Alonzo Mourning's big kerfuffle in a locker room a few years back. Most leagues have well defined practices for when female (and male) reporters can be allowed in a locker room after players have dressed, but, well, you know how this goes. I'm sure those players were ogling Sainz on the field, making rude gestures, throwing the ball at her so she'd have to bend over and pick it up, and yeah, probably intentionally flashing her in the locker room. I don't doubt that for one second, and given the NFL's many black eyes regarding issues of sexual assault recently, this needs to be taken very seriously.

But come the heck on, lady! Who wears stuff like this in a testosterone charged environment and expects to not get ogled? How could anyone (male or female) take a person who wears this to a job that doesn't involve a pole or singles seriously? That Twitpic is the actual outfit she wore at Jets practice, BTW.

I'm definitely not saying that Sainz brought this on herself. Nobody deserves to be treated the way she's alleging she did. Period, point blank, end of story.

But much like a similar case of sexual harassment involving a NYC banker this Summer, I can't help but think that perhaps a bit of modesty might have gone a long way here.

Question: Should Ms. Sainz have dressed a bit more modestly for this job, or doe these NFL players need to learn to keep it in their pants? Is there a thin line between dressing sexy and dressing appropriately for a given job?

NFL looking into reporter Ines Sainz's claims of sexually suggestive comments made by New York Jets [NYDailyNews]

Sainz Defends Manner Of Dress In Covering Jets [SportsByBrooks]

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