Clinton Portis comments took heat off the Jets for a while. Before the Clinton Portis comments, the Jets were dominating the Ines Sainz scandal, but the Portis comments have given them a temporary break. For a day, the Washington Redskins’ running back became the new symbol of male sexism from this story. The Redskins likely preferred the focus to stay on their victory over the Cowboys, rather than another off-field incident. Instead, the Clinton Portis comments have added another layer to this scandal, and perhaps furthered the usual “she was asking for it” excuses in stories like this.
Even before Portis spoke, there was already lingering debate on whether Sainz was too provocative for the Jets players to handle. Discussions and searches over Sainz’s tight and revealing clothes had gone up, although few were speaking out loud that it was an excuse.
The Clinton Portis comments officially put that argument on display, as he spoke about it on the radio to The Mike Wise Show. When the subject came up, the running back claimed that when “a nice woman” was in the locker room, men would naturally want to “turn and look and want to say something” to her. Likewise, he claimed that the woman would naturally want to look “at 53 men’s packages”
Although public opinion came down quick against these remarks, the Jets were likely a bit relieved. Thanks to bashing the Clinton Portis comments, columnists had a new target for this story other than the Jets. For once, the Jets may prefer a break from the spotlight, given the heat over this scandal and their Monday night loss.
As for the Redskins, they are already well versed in off-field turmoil and distractions. The Clinton Portis comments may not rise to the level of the Albert Haynesworth debacle, or Donovan McNabb’s arrival. But they had hoped that all the news would stay good after upsetting Dallas, and instead, they were drawn into another team’s scandal for a day.
These words continued to drudge up the old stereotypes about female reporters in a locker room, and how some believe harassment can’t be helped. Portis didn’t say anything new on that front, since it is considered a given that men would look in this situation. However, the depth of their looking, and when it starts to make someone uncomfortable, is the real issue here. Saying that a woman would do the same, and she couldn’t help but look at “packages” was considered even more politically incorrect.
The Clinton Portis comments have assured that the story will live on for another news cycle, even as the Jets and Sainz are trying to put this behind them. The rest of the league now likely hopes that the other players will let this die, as talking about it is clearly a no-win situation.
Washington Post- “Clinton Portis on Ines Sainz situation – update”
SB Nation- “Defending Clinton Portis, The NFL’s Supposed Misogynistic Monster”
Las Vegas Review Journal- “Portis: Wandering eyes only natural”