Quite the spotlight has been turned on a controversy surrounding women's sports reporting recently, stemming from a serious harassment issue involving Mexican sports reporter Ines Sainz and the New York Jets early this September.
Reportedly at the Jets' practice facility in September, Ines Sainz, a mother of three who reports for Mexico’s TV Azteca, was interviewing QB Mark Sanchez on the sidelines while Jets players and coaches purposely, "threw footballs in her direction, supposedly so they could get closer to the attractive 26-year-old Sainz" reports Sal Maiorana
. Sainz apparently blew-off the players and coaches juvenile behavior towards her that practice, marking the actions of the team humiliating but ultimately just immature. However, another incident that same week put her in the Jet's locker room waiting to interview a player and had to listen to Jets players catcall and whistle at her several times. This behavior by the team definitely did not go ignored by Sainz this time..."I am in the locker room of the Jets waiting for Mark Sanchez while trying not to look anywhere, dying of embarrassment (Maiorana
)" Sainz reports from the locker room. Trying to do her job as a journalist, this reporter was clearly harassed as a female reporting on a men's team. Although Sainz did get a personal apology from the Jet's manager, Woody Johnson, and the Jets team will participate in an education workshop from the Association of Women in Sports Media, many female journalists are still firing on all cylinders in advocacy for sports journalism gender equality. "You hope, being a female, that this type of thing wouldn't happen anymore," says Boston Herald sports journalist Karen Guregian, "but, it brings up the past and how far I thought we had come, so it was disappointing."
The Jets' behavior towards Sainz was absolutely inexcusable, however, the manner in which Ines Sainz behaved herself while standing in the men's locker room after the game as well as on the field during their practice, has Fox News NFL analyst Brian Baldinger saying: “If you come to the NFL dressed the way that she is dressed, you are just asking for it"... refering to the black minidress with a plunging neckline and matching black stilettos she wears to the games, or the tight-fitting jeans and a white-collared shirt that was unbuttoned enough to reveal significant cleavage in the locker room while conducting an interview. I suppose no matter how she's dressed she shouldn't be harassed, but should Sainz be surprised when the treatment she receives as a business professional is equivalent to the professionalism she adheres to in her choice of attire while working? Whether we like it or not, there are stereotypes and standards for dress in the working and social world. We expect farmers to be in overalls as it's practical for their work. We expect airplane pilots to be in uniform and doctors in scrubs. One can't help but question the professional image Sainz projects in her choice of dress. Perhaps it's a cultural issue? Are American professional dress standards different than those in Mexico? Has that question been asked?
Then there is the well known Erin Andrews story, a beautiful and very modest sports reporter whose stalker was caught videotaping her in several hotel rooms while on location and putting it up on the internet. The incident was so devastating to Erin, she is currently working with senators on anti-stalking laws, suing the hotels that she was videotaped in, and has still only spoken in public once about the humiliating incident. Her profession, which puts her in front of thousands of male sports fans a day, led to a disgusting invasion of privacy as a result. Women sports reporters fall into a sexist world and truly have a tough gig no matter what they wear, how they look, or how they act when reporting on male athletes. But like anything else, common sense should prevail.