Do female reporters belong in the locker room of male pro sports teams? Another issue popped up recently when Ines Sainz reportedly received cat calls both on the field and something of a similar nature in the New York Jets locker room. Sainz has since said she didn’t “feel offended”, according to a story in the New York Times. The Mexico TV Azteca female reporter met with security about the event and provided details of what was a potential sex harassment claim. Sainz apparently even has been criticized by her fellow media for wearing clothes that may have enticed the players a bit. The Ines Sainz pictures, which can be found here, only reveal she was wearing tight jeans and a shirt. It’s nothing NFL players haven’t seen before. She certainly wasn’t wearing a bikini in this pictures.
The issue certainly brings up the question of whether female reporters belong in the locker room of male pro sports teams. Should any reporters for that matter be allowed in the locker room immediately after games when players are getting dressed? It’s a tough question that doesn’t have a good specific answer in my opinion. Television, radio and newspaper reporters are under tight deadlines to get stories on the late local news or even before print. The locker room interviews are an essential part of beating that deadline. If reporters only interviewed the selected players who were addressing media at the podiums after games-they would probably not be able to tell a full and complete story. Usually media outlets will head for the locker room immediately after a game or practice to get sound or quotes. There is absolutely no reason a female reporter should be made to feel uncomfortable in that situation. I also feel that there is no reason why a female reporter should be denied access to the same privileges her male counterpart might have.
Ines Sainz or Erin Andrews should have the same access without question. But could the interviews be held well after showers and still allow reporters to make their stressful deadlines? Going in the locker room allows reporters to tell multiple stories. The kicker might be the player a respective media member wants to interview. Maybe a safety is from certain town and that particular media member needs to get the home town kid. When we talk about potential reporters in a locker room, it’s not just limited to the national media. Many different outlets from many towns are issued credentials. For big events like the Super Bowl, thousands of media may be in attendance. The media could vary from sex, nationality to outlet.
Whatever the case, the needs for many media members are completely different from the needs of other media members. Building a good solid story and reporting about the game is not the only thing reporters have to concentrate on. Many reporters stockpile interviews for use in coming days. Some stockpile those same interviews for features during the middle of the week. So the use of locker room sound and quotes is very advantageous to helping reporters secure that information without have to return to a practice when access might be allowed.
So with that said, I fully believe female reporters should be allowed in male locker rooms until the process changes. I think most people will agree that it’s just business. What needs to happen to control the environment is a different matter. If NFL players are cat calling reporters-they should probably be fined or at least warned. The reporters are there to do a job and don’t need the unwanted distractions. In this situation with Ines, it appears there were some moments when she was being made to be uncomfortable even though she later says she wasn’t offended. That should never happen in any realm of the business world let alone a male dominated locker room. Yet that’s almost inevitably going to happen when a bunch of athletes see a beautiful woman as a change of pace from a male reporter.
That obviously doesn’t make it right and all NFL teams probably need to clarify what should happen in NFL locker rooms upon that situation evolving. In short, the NFL players should have known better in this situation. It’s hard though to expect a large diverse bunch of 20 somethings to maintain that respect at all times-especially when a former swim suit model is asking the questions. Still those rules need to be firmly in place and addressed when there are any discretion’s.
Female reporters should have every right that male reporters have in terms of access. Not allowing that would be discrimination in itself. Maybe teams need to address how their post game situations are handled if that ever becomes a huge issue. It doesn’t seem to happen that often-but occasionally a story like this reminds us that women are in those locker rooms after the game, too. As for now, Ines Sainz will just probably reap the benefits of getting tons of extra exposure from an episode she claims didn’t really bother her. For that, I would say the next few cat calls she gets will be because she’s as cool as a cucumber. And keep the ladies in the pro sports locker rooms-they deserve that right just as much as the men do.
“Ines Sainz, Reporter in Jets Sexual Harassment Claim, defends self, denies being offended”, New York Daily News, Michael Sheridan, Meena Hartenstein