Ines, you’re in the wrong locker room

Credit: Courtney Wittekind/News Editor Credit: Courtney Wittekind/News Editor
Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

The NFL season never fails to bring a ton of controversy every year, and, of course, the beginning of the 2010 season has been no different. If you have not heard, the New York Jets have been caught up in a locker room controversy with a female reporter from Azteca TV, a Mexican media outlet that covers the play of the Jets’ Mexican-American quarterback, Mark Sanchez. About two weeks ago, reporter Ines Sainz tweeted on her account that she felt “embarrassed and uncomfortable” in the Jets locker room, suggesting that she was receiving some verbal abuse from the Jets players. Although this type of conduct is clearly inappropriate for a professional football team, Sainz’s choice of clothing and that the way she has been advertising herself on her website have sparked a locker-room controversy. Should women be allowed in the locker room, and what type of dress is appropriate for the occasion?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sainz, she is one of the many “sexy” reporters to cover professional sports, and she happens to promote her body on her website, often appearing in pictures wearing only a bikini or scant clothing. Also, on the day of the incident, Sainz was wearing a pair of skin-tight jeans along with a white top that highlighted her upper body. Some people say that she deserved the treatment that she got due to her attire. Again, this type of conduct from the Jets clearly crosses the line, but Sainz cannot be taken seriously if she continues to dress as such in a professional environment. This is her job, and it is up to her to dress appropriately. Women who work in a corporate environment do not strut into work with revealing tops and skin-tight jeans. This type of attire would almost certainly be grounds for an employee to lose her job. Of course, this standard applies to men as well. If a man were to come into work wearing a sleeveless shirt and revealing jeans, then I’m sure that he wouldn’t be taken seriously, either.

Now, after dealing with the attire of reporters in the locker room, we come to the question of whether or not female reporters should even be allowed in men’s locker rooms. Oftentimes, the call for gender equivalence allows females to “do their job” in these situations. However, male reporters are never allowed in the women’s locker room. Rather than dismissing this point as a juvenile argument, take a closer look into the question. There are plenty of male reporters. There is no reason for a male reporter not to take the role of interviewing male players, especially after a game when hormones are active and testosterone is high. I’m not sure about you, but I would almost expect catcalls if I were a female reporter, especially one who is attractive. Female reporters are the only ones allowed in a women’s locker room, and the same should hold for men. There are plenty of other reporting duties for women to take on, such as sideline reporting, on-field interviews, game recaps, and many more. Take some of the men who do these jobs, and put them in the locker rooms.

Putting men in men’s locker rooms would solve a problem not only for the media industry, but for the actual players as well. One of the most scrutinized reactions in the Jets controversy was that of Redskins running back and longtime NFL player Clinton Portis, who was quoted as saying, “And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages. And you’re just sitting here, saying ‘Oh, none of this is attractive to me.’ I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m gonna cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.” Now, of course, Portis’ take on the situation may be a bit over-the-top and biased, but he has a point. Why are men held to a standard that women may or may not be held to? If Sainz or any other reporter was actually “checking out a player’s package,” then there is no way that she should be in the locker room, either. If Portis feels this way, I’m sure more than a few players feel the same way. And I also highly doubt that there hasn’t been a female reporter who hasn’t looked at a few of the players that she’s following.

There is certain etiquette for locker-room behavior, and putting a woman in this setting causes confusion that can easily be avoided.