You know what time it is, right? It’s time to have a decree for the douchebags.
As you might have heard, Mexican sports reporter Ines Sainz was harassed with cat-calls and “suggestive comments” this past week while at the New York Jets practice field. The Association of Women Sportscasters has called on the NFL for an investigation, and the Jets owner has apparently offered an apology.
There are some really, really, douchey ways that the media is responding to this story. The New York Post concluded their coverage of the story (“Jets flagged making passes at hot reporter”) with:
Sainz posted a picture on Twitter of herself at the practice and, apparently to silence any critics, said she was not “inappropriately dressed.”
She had roamed the sidelines in tight jeans, high heels and a low-cut blouse as footballs spiraled in her direction.
A bikini-clad Sainz has been featured in numerous photo spreads.
First of all, it’s messed up that she had to “prove” she was not “inappropriately dressed” but the Post’s not-so-subtle wrap-up might as well say, “But we all know she had it coming.” And by “it” I don’t mean spiraling footballs.
Next up in journalistic integrity is The Daily Caller’s response of a harassment case which is, naturally, a photo slideshow titled “Baby Got Back: Meet Ines Sainz” with pictures of Sainz in bikinis and captions like “The skin tight jeans — er, we mean, the sensible outfit that sparked the current controversy.”
Then there’s ex-NFL player John Riggins, who on a radio show also justified harassing Sainz. The intrepid Amanda Hess at TBD has done what most of dream of doing when listening to talk radio: she broke-down his rant into fifteen problematic points.
(Riggins:) You have a situation here where this woman—what I read in the Internet—bills herself as the ‘World’s Hottest Sports Reporter.’ Well, if you’re going around and this is what your claim to fame is, and depending on what kind of journalist is she—is this for something, for the channels where it’s pop culture? Which I think more of it is? Well, and you’re dressed—you can say however you’re dressed. And she is, she’s an attractive woman. But is she really serious? And if you know that, if you know that you’re serious about your job, I don’t think you’d bill yourself as the hottest sports reporter. I think you’re asking for it. And it’s just the animal instinct. If you’re putting it out there, these guys are sensitive. And I’m sorry, maybe she’s so hot she can’t help it. But you know what? Then put on a cardboard box, OK?
… My point here is, we don’t know exactly what it was. And she herself says that it wasn’t sexual harassment. But my point is that: Change the way you do things. You’re saying, ‘Should she be subjected to it?’ But some people ask for what comes.  Why is it that she’s the only one? Is this something that’s ongoing with the team? I don’t think so, I think this is an isolated case, and I think there’s a little bit more to it, and perhaps an investigation’s good. Maybe she was somehow trespassed upon, or maybe somebody else made more out of it than what’s really going on there.
(Read Hess’s breakdown here!)
It’s incredible to me that these writers and athletes have conveniently forgotten Erin Andrews, another “hot” sportscaster who was stalked and had video footage of her in her hotel room posted on the internet.
But let’s go back to where the incident started. Sainz was subjected to cat-calls, “hoots and hollers,” footballs thrown such that players might potentially collide with her, and further harassment in the locker room.
When Tara Sullivan, another female sports reporter, was asked on NPR about the incident, she says that she’s simply disappointed this kind of behavior is still occurring on and off the field. “I haven’t been subjected to this type of behavior. And I count myself lucky because I think that there were women ahead of me who broke that barrier. And that’s what makes me sad about this incident. This battle was fought already. This is the way the game operates. This is the way we do our jobs. And it just should not have reared its head.” Sullivan also pointed out that the harassment should have been stopped by Jets PR staff in the locker room, and that the official apology and training on women in sports media is, unfortunately, “too little too late.”