When the story broken in early September that TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz had been harassed by the team my initial thought was somewhat conflicted. Professional football is just that, professional and players, coaches, reporters and anyone else involved in an organization should handle themselves as a professional. Players however seem to forget that they are being paid to play the sport and should abide by the league’s rules and regulations. On the other hand I was surprised that this was the first big story like this to emerge from the league. The NFL consists of nearly 1,700 male players with above average testosterone levels. When I sat back and thought about it, I was amazed that more female reporters were not sexually harassed.
After the news broke of the harassment, Redskins running back, Clinton Portis made his weekly appearance on a local radio show. Portis came out saying, “I think you put women reporters in the locker room in position to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are going to tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman.” Portis continues to share his opinions on what Sainz may have been thinking when entering the locker room when he said, “You put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her,” Portis said. “You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s going to want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s (bodies). … I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m going to cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.” Needless to say, the NFL cracked down on Portis immediately and he issued a carbon copy apology for the things he said. The Jets and Portis’ behavior caused the NFL leaped into action, immediately investigating the treatment of Sainz within the locker room. As a result, the NFL chose to implement a mandatory training program for all 32 teams on proper conduct in the workplace.
While there is no doubt that player are responsible for conducting themselves in a professional manner, the same must also be expected of reporters. Sainz is clearly an attractive woman, one can understand that she would receive attention from NFL players. Sainz needs to take some accountability for herself and dress more appropriately when on NFL sidelines and in locker rooms. Sainz wears skin-tight clothes that clearly show off her body, whether she does this knowing she will garner more attention from players or not, it should not be acceptable. Complaining about being sexually harassed in an NFL locker room dress like this is like getting in a shark tank and complaining when you get eaten. The incident was no one persons fault, it was the culmination of multiple professionals conducting themselves in an inappropriate manner.