The New York Jets parlayed a hard-hitting, outlaw sensibility into an
HBO series and countless magazine covers this NFL offseason. But the
club's boys-will-be-boys approach is coming back to haunt them, thanks
to tweets from TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz detailing the boorish reception she
received at a recent practice. Sainz--a former Miss Universe contestant
known to pose in various states of undress--tweeted last Saturday that
the the squad's catcalls and attempts to accidentally-on-purpose collide
with her during a passing drill left her "very uncomfortable!" While
perhaps not the worst moment in the history of male-female relations,
the scene was regrettable enough for Jets owner Woody Johnson to
apologize to Sainz and the NFL league office to open an investigation into the matter.
And while Sainz doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, the media's response to the
incident has been swift and cutting:
- No Defense The fact Sainz's persona on TV Azteca leverages her sex appeal has no bearing on the incident, argues The New York Times' William Rhoden. The "mindless disrespect" her mere presence at Jets practice provoked "thousands of young women throughout the sports industry who are not Miss This or Miss That and aspire to be taken seriously as professionals."
- Doing a Job Sports Illustrated's Ann Killion marvels that female NFL reporters still have to fight for the most basic of professional courtesies. "The reporter did not ask for this behavior," says Killion. "The reality is she came to work last Saturday wearing a pair of jeans and a white blouse."
- Same Old Story Sainz is provocative, but that doesn't alter the substance of the debate, contends Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory. It is still possible, she notes, for a personality "who cashes in on her sex appeal [to] actually be harassed, violated and abused."
- Inexcusable At Yahoo! Sports, Doug Farrar wonders why female reporters are constantly forced to defend the way they present themselves. Sainz is a professional doing a job, writes Farrar, and shouldn't be subjected to "anyone else's standards except for her own, her employer's, and those of the teams she covers."
- Not Getting the Message The rise of Deadspin and "Moneyball" hasn't been enough to bring some athletes into the 21st century, writes Fanhouse's Kevin Blackistone. For all their apparent media savvy, the team's behavior demonstrated a shocking lack of awareness about the "new journalistic environment...[where] protection doesn't shrink with the fit of jeans or disappear with the height of a hemline."