Journalistic attire? While Ines Sainz is far from
what could be considered the best of journalism,
locker room behavior needs to respect woman,
regardless of whether setting themselves up for
There’s a saying that bad cases make good law. Take the Miranda v. Arizona case that led to the well-known Miranda Warning.
The Supreme Court overturned Miranda’s conviction on kidnapping, rape and armed robbery charges because law enforcement officers failed to advise the suspect of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney prior to eliciting a confession from him. Ten years later, Miranda died from a knife wound suffered during a card game. In a perverse sense of irony, justice was served when Miranda’s assailant was read his “Miranda Warning,” refused to talk, and went free for lack of evidence.
I was reminded of the Miranda case when the Ines Sainz story made the news rounds last week. In case you missed it, Sainz, a reporter for Azteca TV in Mexico, was “allegedly” harassed in the New York Jets locker room while conducting an interview of quarterback Mark Sanchez. I use the term allegedly because another female reporter who witnessed the interview screamed harassment while Sainz merely laughed and brushed off the boorish behavior of Jets players.
News of the Sainz incident prompted the NFL to send a memo to all 32 teams reminding them that female reporters have as much right to work in an NFL clubhouse as their male counterparts and that the treatment rendered by the Jets would not be tolerated. Of course, they’re right.
Sainz is to journalism what Twitter is to English composition. Think Paris Hilton, not Diane Sawyer. Sainz is the distaff equivalent of MLB umpire Joe West, albeit better looking and better proportioned. The focus is on them, not their jobs. Ines went to the Jets practice looking for publicity, for herself and her station. In hindsight, she accomplished all she set out to do – and more. Sainz dresses provocatively, coos suggestively when interviewing players, is flirtatious, and generally acts unprofessionally by any standard.
Of course, the same can be said of Jets players. By all accounts, the Jets personify the “frat boys” image popularized in the movie Animal House. The team persona is exemplified by their coach, Rex Ryan, who runs – if you call it that – a loose ship. Ryan fancies himself a movie star after a recent foul-mouthed appearance on the HBO reality show “Hard Knocks.”
Shortly after the Sainz episode became public, the Jets engaged in damage control, scheduling an educational and awareness session for the team with the Association for Women in Sports Media. The team also issued a statement saying owner Woody Johnson spoke to Sainz to discuss the incident. "He stressed to Ines that he expects all members of the Jets organization to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times," the statement said. Here’s one way to get the players to act professionally: Rein in their loose cannon of a coach.
Lest you conclude that I’m making light of females being harassed while performing their jobs as sports reporters, I want to be clear that such action is abhorrent, intolerable, and in 2010, shouldn’t even be part of our conversation. But talk about it we must, due in large measure to human nature. You can no more legislate good manners, proper etiquette, and professionalism – among athletes or sports journalists - than you can eliminate murder by making it illegal.
Which brings me back to Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Warning was, and still is, good law, even though the facts of the case were atrocious. The same can be said for Sainz, who is a poor example of a woman engaged in “sports journalism.” Ines had as much right to be in the Jets locker room as Miranda had of being set free. By the same token, as long as male sports reporters are allowed in locker rooms - in any sport - women journalists should be as well, to do their jobs. Most female sports reporters are serious journalists who should decry Sainz for taking the focus off their work and placing it squarely on their gender.
Although the publicity Sainz received is unwarranted, we can thank her for providing a necessary reminder that female sports journalists should be treated with dignity and respect, something that unfortunately needs to be reemphasized over and over again.
Jordan Kobritz is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network. He is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner. He is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern New Mexico University and teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming. He looks forward to your comments and can be contracted, here.
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