Posted by: Ethan Johnson | September 16, 2010

L’Affaire Sainz

I haven’t weighed in on the Ines Sainz/New York Jets locker room fracas because, in large part, it seemed like a tempest in a teapot. Plus, with all of the blab I was seeing on other sites, what’s my uneducated, uninformed opinion going to add to the discussion?

Thankfully, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post weighed in with a level-headed accounting of L’Affaire Sainz:

The other day Sainz went out to the Jets’ facility to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, and while she was there, some Jets seem to have acted 14 years old and lost it, because she is a former Miss Universe contestant and she wears tight jeans (she’s also a married mother of three with a masters degree). None of the comments were overtly rude, but they were inappropriate and unprofessional, and another journalist complained on her behalf. Sainz herself told TV Azteca she did not feel insulted, or harassed.

“It was definitely a joking tone, very amicable,” she said. “I wasn’t offended.”

Jets owner Woody Johnson has apologized for his team’s juvenile conduct. It should have ended there.

But it didn’t, and thus another fracas was born.

Not to pick on anybody, but I found Wendy Parker’s comments troubling in the aftermath:

A number of women sports reporters in New York are firmly behind efforts to “re-educate” the Jets personnel who misbehaved. I’ve got no problem with any of that, as long as they don’t get too Maoist with their cant. The Jets gave Sainz a credential, and they didn’t treat her professionally, and the team owner already has apologized to Sainz.

Bravo for him.

But to ignore the fact that this woman is out for attention, and that her attire was a central component in all of this, is to pretend that women can go anywhere they want, dressed any way they want, at any time of day or night, and not expect unwanted attention.

My immediate reaction to this was, “oh, so you’re saying she ‘asked for it’? That she ‘wanted it, it was obvious’?”

I’m not saying Sainz “asked” for, or deserved, the treatment she got. She did not. But she also lacked proper professionalism because of her dress, although the fear of being politically incorrect means she’ll rarely be called out for it.

My question to Wendy Parker: Have you seen the NFL on Fox? Are you telling me that the sideline reporters or better yet, the game-day weather reporter sets the bar for professional dress over whatever Ines Sainz was wearing in the Jets’ locker room?

Please.

“Professional” has nothing to do with dress.

Football players are often coached to, after scoring a touchdown, “act like you’ve been there before.” Of course, flamboyant touchdown celebrations still exist, but many players do simply hand the ball to the closest referee and then celebrate. I get the impression that “act like you’ve seen a woman before” needs to be added to the playbook.

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Responses

  1. I suppose we’ll never agree about this, but being professional most certainly does include how you dress.

    It does not matter what profession you are in, or whether you or male or female.

    Sideline reporters are there for eye candy — I will not dispute this. But those who are regularly assigned and who have a working relationship with the players and coaches they cover, who do their homework on them, do not encounter much trouble.

    Neither do most of the women beat writers, feature writers and columnists. This wasn’t always the case, and it’s a great sign of progress that we haven’t had a Lisa Olson-type situation since . . . Lisa Olson. That was 20 years ago.

    Women who work in a man’s world also need to understand that they need to act like they’ve been there before.

    Ines Sainz clearly does not.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Wendy.

    Having seen the “offending” outfit at last, yes, it was unprofessional certainly by USA standards. I am qualifying this because all one needs to do is tune in to programs like Republica Deportivo on Univision to see that bare midriffs, hot pants and knee-high boots are standard issue for females on the show.

    I don’t claim to be a Sociology major but wonder if what is at issue really is one culture clashing with another’s, and I don’t mean men and women, or football players and journalists.


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