When Ines Sainz returns to interviewing NFL players, she states that she will not return to the locker rooms. Sainz has been the focal point in an ongoing NFL investigation that targets inappropriate conduct in the work place. The NFL has been investigating if Sainz was the target of inappropriate comments and gestures while she was interviewing some New York Jets players in their locker room. A Yahoo Sports reports quotes Sainz as saying “I’m not going into the locker rooms anymore. It’s not a good place right now for me. I don’t want to be in there.”
Click this link to see the referenced report: sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Ines-Sainz-is-returning-to-work-but-not-to-NFL-
The Sainz incident has been a large topic of discussion on many blogs, sports and news sites and has led to discussions on whether the NFL does enough to protect the rights of female reporters and whether or not the NFL provides a comfortable working environment for women in general. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been deeply entrenched in this investigation and has even gone as far as to send out work place codes of conduct to all 32 NFL franchises. The NFL clearly wants to distance itself from any position that would alienate any of its potential female fan base and has made preemptive strikes to show that it will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind.
While the NFL should be applauded for its efforts to combat this and other similar situations, the question of access to teams appears to be the real problem. With improving technology and the increased efficiency of the modern media, the NFL now provides more access to its inner workings as ever before. Shows like HBO’s “Hard Knocks” takes viewers into the previously secretive world of NFL training camps and even goes as far as to profile players that are highly unlikely to make the team. The show even shows the pain and anguish that the unlucky players go through when being released from the team. Furthermore, it has become common sight to see players getting interviewed right in front of lockers after victories as well as defeats. No one will ever forget former San Diego Charger’s quarterback Ryan Leaf’s explosion and subsequent restraining by teammates while being interviewed by a reporter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMe0Rz1frdE).
Interviewing players while in the locker room is the equivalent of interviewing President Obama while drying off after a shower or interviewing an office worker while zipping up his pants after stepping away from a urinal. Although, the NFL markets and sells the personalities of its players, it also needs to take stronger steps to protect its player’s privacy and provide players with a no access area that most likely seems to be the locker room. I am fairly certain that there is more than one NFL wife out there that doesn’t like the idea of young attractive female reporters seeing their husbands bare all. I am also certain that there are some coaches that would love the idea of banning media from the locker room. Sideline and post game reports done from a podium are as informing and entertaining as any locker room reporting and these always conducted in more controlled environments. Not condoning the reprehensible actions taken by members of the New York Jets, but you have to ask the question: “Would it have happened if the interviews were conducted in a more professional environment?” We may never know.