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Douchebag Decree: The out-of-bounds coverage of Ines Sainz

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.
a picture of Ines Sainz. She is tan and had blonde hair. She is wearing a black dress and smiling while standing on a green athletic field.

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.'[1] 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?[2] Which I think more of it is? Well, and you're dressed—you can say however you're dressed.[3] And she is, she's an attractive woman.[4] But is she really serious?[5] 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.[6] And it's just the animal instinct.[7] If you're putting it out there, these guys are sensitive.[8] 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?[9]

. . . My point here is, we don't know exactly what it was.[10] And she herself says that it wasn't sexual harassment.[11] But my point is that: Change the way you do things.[12] You're saying, 'Should she be subjected to it?' But some people ask for what comes. [13] Why is it that she's the only one?[14] 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.[15]

(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."

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Comments

23 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I find it so scary that this

I find it so scary that this type of vernacular and attitude towards women is so prominent and accepted by men in the dominantly male culture of sports. What other men are listening to Riggins' "analysis" of the situation and what are they getting from it? Also, how do women working in a workplace where they are the minority avoid such situations? This bullshit needs to stop.
HHC

HHC

TO some men, the world is a locker room

As an attorney, I'm embarrassed on behalf of my profession to say that this also happens in the courtroom, albeit in a more nuanced manner. It has nothing to do with attire; it is a means of achieving control by putting us in our place. I am hopeful that the day will come when we all agree that no one deserves to be reduced to an innuendo receptacle.

Have Svutlana absolute no ideas where for begin!

Believe or no, read Svutlana sports section every morning because a) no want for fill mind with death and destruction while eat breakfast and b) want for discover secrets of high perform athletes.

Unfortunate, Svutlana must inevitable eat blueberries with misogyny because if there be any group that treat womens more abominably than professional athletes, Svutlana would like for know who they be. More than one time, Svutlana wish for see womens boycott all professional sport events en masse...no more female cheerleaders, no female journalists, no female fans. Let boys play with boys and revel in their homoerotic homophobia.

Am profuse sorry, but for some reasons this Ms Ines story make Svutlana so mad!

Can Sensitivity Training Cure Doucheyness?

It is not uncommon for employees who do and say the kind of douchey things which were said in this case to be ordered to take a sensitivity training course to make them "more aware of their own prejudice and more sensitive to others" (Quote from Wikipedia). Some news reports are claiming sensitivity training has been ordered. The only way I can see the goal of sensitivity training being achieved in a case like this where there has been so much hypocrisy and disparity over what is acceptable attire, is if the Jets have to play play lingerie football for the offended female reporters and have the reporters do the cat-calls. Though it's no excuse for the attempted demeaning of Ms. Sainz or her attire it seems there might be a basis for the bad reputation of locker-room humor. I never was a big fan of locker-room interviews anyway.

Torn

This is such a complicated issue for me. There have been cases of rape being thrown out of court because the woman was dressed "innappropriately" and therefore was "asking for it." Was Ms.Inez "asking for it" ? No. Ms.Inez is an attractive woman, she could have worn that "cardboard box" and still looked stunning. I do think that being "hooted" at comes with the territory of working in the "man's world" of sports, where men believe they can have whatever woman they want. Ms.Inez was trying to be professional, the players were acting like boys. But should women not go out because they fear being oggled? It's weird to me that a woman recognized as beautiful, whose profession is all about men evaluating her appearance, should be upset by men looking at her and confirming the fact. She didn't deserve to be treated as she was, I just want to make that clear. I also think there is something cultural here, that sportsmen in her country are more polite, maybe?

uhh...no, women should not

uhh...no, women should not limit their activities for fear of being ogled. That doesn't mean street harassment isn't a serious problem the world over, and that many women's autonomy is compromised in various ways because of it, and that's exactly why higher-profile harassment cases need to be accounted for.

While Sainz is a media talking head, I think many women in her position would be very offended that you think of their jobs as "all about men evaluating her profession." And finally, there is nothing to extract about Mexican men from what happened between Sainz and the New York Jets. Instead, I think it speaks more to people who think "being boys" is an excusable means for harassing women.

There's not much to be torn about.

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Still Torn

By her profession, I meant her semi-previous one of modeling. I don't think "being boys" is an excuse, it was wrong of them to not act professionally. But as I said, men are used to acting a certain way unchecked. They are men who make millions a year and perceive they can have "whatever woman" they want. But I still don't think she was dressed appropriately. I think that it's a job hazard, working in a "man's world" and it will continue to be an issue until...we send all the men to sensitivity training.

Because I don't see sending

Because I don't see sending all men to sensitivity training happening anytime soon, I think we will just have to change our ideas about harassment in the mean time--such as not blaming women for getting harassed because they wore the wrong outfit.

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Kjerstin Johnson, Web content manager
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Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Yes. And

Even 'sensitivity training'—whatever the frick that really means—isn't ever a cure-all guarantee. Sending someone who has no respect for women to sensitivity training is almost a recipe for cynicism, like, now you've got an insensitive asshole who wants to mansplain all the stuff they heard in 'training'. I agree all men (esp. USian football players) aren't getting sent to learn sensitivity anytime soon, in part because most are too far from valuing sensitivity to get one iota out of doing so. But their lack of desire is separate from any woman's 'desire' not to be harassed, and no one, not just women, should be given the burden of compensating for it by dressing 'right'.

There should be a giant difference between the 'consequences' of a casual fashion faux pas—whether someone was over- or under-dressed for a particular event—and the 'consequences' of Sports Spectating While Woman.

It's The Hypocrisy That's Mind-Boggling

There must be plenty of women who watch football, but it seems like the programming is overwhelmingly geared towards the interests of men. You are certainly correct that the likelihood of sending all men for sensitivity training is remote. That is why getting the sensitivity or equality idea across in this televised venue where there is such high viewership is important. That was why in my previous comment about this hypocritical and gratuitously sexist state of affairs i suggested what i did.

Why is it that only the primal urges of males are valued in football programming? What do women who watch football want to see? In my earlier comment i suggested the Jets should have to play MTV style "Lingerie Football" the way the women do.

That would be the whole point of sensitivity training on a large scale. People learning what it would be like if the roles were reversed.

Even absent some meaningful changes they could at least be a little consistent. Do they bad-mouth or make catcalls at their own cheerleaders? It seems like hypocrisy to me in many, many ways.

Hm.

I just can't help but wonder if the people who use the "hot" persona she has cultivated as justification that she was "asking for it" have ever considered how much her success as a reporter might be dependent on her physical appearance. I don't in any way mean to imply that she hasn't worked hard to get where she is, or that her appearance is the only reason for her successful career, but I think it would be naive to disregard the impact beauty standards have in this situation.

Bust

I think the most disappointing treatment I've seen on this story was on Bust magazine's blog. I've noticed over the past year or so that their online content has really gone downhill. Sometimes the content isn't particularly interesting or relevant, and sometimes it's just questionable. How they handled Ms. Sainz's story, however, just made me want to rip my hair out.

After recapping the incident, the blogger wrote:

. . . Maybe people are over-reacting to this just a little bit. A woman like Ines is . . . probably used to being catcalled. She's sexy, and very feminine. Men who play football are super masculine. Men are going to chase her like wolves, not because they mean to harass her, but because it's primal.

Uh, is she saying that men have no control over their sexual impulses? If we believe that, isn't the next logical step to suggest that women should wear tents over their bodies and avoid going out into public, for fear of being ravaged by men possessed by uncontrollable lust? If I were a betting woman, I'd say this blogger is totez on Team Edward. But wait, it gets better! Or worse, depending on how you view it:

This is where the issue arises-these sorts of things happen to remind us (in general) men are men and women are women. The problem doesn't go away because it's not really a problem, it's a gender divide. Regardless of how modern or PC we get, we're still controlled by our sex.

WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK. By that logic, racism, homophobia, size-ism, ageism, able-ism, and every other -ism isn't actually a problem, it's just a silly---and perfectly NATURAL---divide.

. . . Is it possible that catcalling is a weird way of showing respect? It is like a collective compliment . . . It's almost like saying we can't control ourselves - you're a beautiful distraction. I don't know. Thoughts?

I ended up not ripping my hair out, instead taking solace in the comments section, in which many ripped the article apart. If anyone wants to read the article, here's the link: http://bust.com/blog/2010/09/13/emilie+b/battle-of-the-sexes-footballers...

On a side-note, as the copy+paste function is mysteriously not working on my computer, I had to enter in the URL by hand was irked that that the url refers to Ms. Sainz as a "beauty queen" rather than a reporter or journalist. >:(

re: Bust

Bitch has cited previous BUST content for being questionable in the print magazine (I think the article was a love/shove it feature about traveling and the writer groaned over the article giving advice encouraging manipulation while traveling?) What's up with BUST? In Bitch's early days BUST seemed very supportive. Did you know that BUST featured excerpts from Bitch for a short time back in the late 1990s? Now BUST seems to pretend that Bitch no longer exists. This does not surprise me. Perhaps it's time we give BUST some closer scrutiny more often? I'd hate to see BUST become what's now the "new" Venuszine. I discovered Bitch while reading BUST, but if BUST is going to become more like the now no-longer-fun-to-read Venuszine, I may sadly have to say buh-bye to BUST. I hope not.

I know that was a little off-topic

But after noticing the comment mentioning BUST, I felt like chiming-in my own frustrations about it. I am also old enough to remember when John Riggins was a celebrity in the DC area back in the 80s (I grew up there) and it's really nice knowing that he is as misogynistic now than he ever was. UGH!!

Serious isn't Sexy??

"And she is, she's an attractive woman.[4] But is she really serious?[5] 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"

This part made me so angry. Sooo apparently, if you're attractive and want to be serious about your job... you shouldn't be attractive. You shouldn't be hot at all. In fact, it'd probably be better if you were completely ugly so you could continue to be serious within your job field. Because sexy/hot negates being serious in the work place. Because then women are asking for it.

(Instead of the truth - men are being assholes. Because they CAN control themselves. Neuroscience proved it.)

Inappropriate, but harassment?

Showing attention to a person is not necessarily harassment. The behavior of the 20-year old athletes acting like boys around a beautiful woman is not as revolting as the behavior of the coaches who were throwing passes near Sainz, so the boys could get close to her (not run her over). That is grade school level antics from coaches who are meant to be role modeling professional behavior. Is that harassment? No, but it is an indication of a group behaving poorly—from management on down.

The tapes of the event are in the hands of the NFL for review, it may never be known what was said, and Sainz has consistently denied that it was harassment, saying instead that she heard jokes and was uncomfortable. In an interview with 1050 EPSN New York, she said, “The minute I walk in I hear some noises, and some, like, people are joking about my presence there….” She goes on to explain that the comments were so loud that a colleague apologized to her that she had to work in such an environment. This sounds very damning, but then on the Today show she said, "I must say that I don't hear anything that is in a sexual way." … Now I have no idea what transpired. Was it men acting immaturely or men harassing her?

Watch Ines Sainz talk in any of her interviews and it is obvious that she is downplaying the event and her emotions. What is most likely is that Sainz is self-censuring to insure her access/position. It’s hard to allege misdeeds by a company and not face some repercussion, so she has maintained a passive approach to all of this, reiterating that it is the AWSM’s job to determine what happened.

I hope the matter is resolved justly, but that is all I can say with certainty—aside from that the media’s response to the incident has been abhorrent. It’s a shame they won’t be called to task for their behavior like the Jets will.

Also, while it is interesting to note that Sainz is not a serious sports reporter as compared to her colleagues (she went around measuring players’ biceps), that holds no bearing on whether her job position (or her attire) makes harassment any more acceptable. It’s unilaterally unacceptable.

One last note, the owner didn't "apparently offer an apology". He did. He did it before the story reached the media. I know it’s hard not to charge your language on such matters, but that is blatant opining, which reveals bias. It's unsurprising, then, that you got facts of the incident wrong in your summarization (Sainz was subjected to cat-calls ... footballs thrown such that players would collide with her).

Holy crap, she was intentionally run over by players! That is definitely harassment, or assault ... or something.

Oh wait … she wasn’t.

If you can’t get the facts right on a case I am informed about, how can I trust that you report accurately on topics I am ignorant about?

When I said

When I said "footballs thrown such that players would collide with her," I did not mean to imply that the players did collide with her, but that that's how the footballs were thrown. I changed the wording to "might potentially collide" to avoid further confusion.

I think the issue of whether or not this is called harassment is very important. To borrow from Amanda Hess again, her point #11 in Riggins' talk was:

11. "She herself says it wasn't sexual harassment." As long as we call it "cat-calling," "suggestive comments," and "on-field antics," it's not harassment.

Just because Sainz experience doesn't fit with some other ideas of harassment (inappropriate touching, stalking, etc), I think it's important to go above the euphemisms and call the unwanted attention what it is. I think it's akin to the idea of "gray rape," where a woman isn't really raped if she had sex after doing x under y conditions.

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, Web content manager
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

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Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Ya know, I honestly don't

Ya know, I honestly don't think I can see the ill-conceived passing routes as sexual harassment. I know they were a terrible decision by the coaches, but the image I get in my mind is that of boys competing for a girl's attention and it is hard for me to lash out at those boys. The best I can do is call their behavior immature and unprofessional.

As far as redefining the terms so as to avoid the issue, well, you could charge me as guilty of that since I used Sainz word 'jokes' to minimize the significance of the offense. In reality, jokes aren't mutually exclusive from being considered harassment, so the fact that they were jokes doesn't imply that the players were not harassing her.

The fact that she explains that she had to ignore comments in order to do her job, to such an extent that her colleagues are offering apologies, makes it sound precisely like harassment.

I struggle with her inconsistency in explaining the events. But I’m forgiving, because not every person is capable of confronting issues like this and defending themselves, and I’m confident the NFL and the AWSM will get it right: standing up for her rights.

Two things

1) While I absolutely do not condone the treatment Ms. Sainz received in the Jets' locker room, I do believe that locker rooms should be closed to reporters of all sexes. They certainly don't allow male reporters in a women's locker room while players are dressing/undressing, so I'm not sure why the opposite is true. Why can't sports interviews be conducted in a professional environment like all other interviews are? You don't see the White House Press Corps grilling Robert Gibbs in his bathroom while Calgon's taking him away.

2) I'm glad the Association of Women Sportscasters -- an organization I'd actually never heard of until now -- is taking up Inez Sainz's cause. I also, however, wish this organization would work to distinguish people like Inez Sainz from actual sportscasters. I do have to say that touting yourself as the "world's sexiest sportscaster," measuring players' biceps, and dressing in skin-tight jeans aren't exactly activities in which a professional sportscaster, male or female, would engage.

I'm a (female) sportswriter.

I'm a (female) sportswriter. My main beat is men's professional baseball. I can tell you why pre- and post-game interviews aren't conducted in a press-conference type manner like you're suggesting. The players aren't available after the games as much as they are before the games, and it's nearly impossible to get them for anything once they leave the ballpark. I'm allowed equal access when I need an interview, whether it be in the clubhouse, in the dugout, or on the field. I don't see the need to change this. In fact, I would see it as a major step backward to ban press from the clubohouse/dressing rooms, because that's where we get our stories. Otherwise, we'd be chasing down guys on the phone, which rarely works.

Result

No specific punishment, but new league wide training.

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, explains, "Sainz herself was unequivocal in saying both that no physical contact occurred, and that no player or other Jets staff member made any comment or gesture that could be construed as threatening, demeaning or offensive."

He goes on, "... she told the NFL she had not seen or heard any catcalls, sexually explicit or offensive comments or gestures directed at her, 'and did not believe she was subjected to any improper conduct'."

http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/news/story?id=5585084

Get OUT of the locker room!

Women have no place in a men's locker room. None. How many men are allowed in women's professional basketball (WNBA) locker rooms after a game? None. It's policy. Are men allowed in women's professional soccer (WPA) locker rooms after a game? No, they aren't. Are men allowed in women gymnast's locker room at the Olympics? No, they aren't. Are men allowed in women's volleyball locker rooms? No, they aren't. So, if men aren't allowed in women's locker rooms, why are women allowed in men's locker rooms? Reason? Because women consider men in professional sports as chattel, hunks of meat that aren't human beings that should be afforded some respect and allowed to dress without having to worry about a woman in the locker room. Women reporters are allowed in ALL men's professional sports locker rooms, but NO MEN are allowed in ANY of the women's locker rooms. Now THAT is sexism and discrimination, pure and simple.

Men in professional sports shouldn't have to worry about dressing or undressing in front of a women. It's completely disrespectful.

I wonder how many women that have bitched and moaned about this incident would be okay with male reporters in THEIR locker room? How about strange men in your personal bathroom at home? Would you enjoy strange men in your personal space while your bathing and undressing? Sound fun?

I wonder how many women here would like it if their husband was a professional sports player and had to undress and shower in front of female reporters? Would you like it if your husband was naked and strange women walked up to him, watching him and asking him questions? I'll bet there wouldn't be ONE woman who is pissing and moaning in this forum who would be for women reporters in the locker room if they had a husband in professional sports. Yeah, you can bet it would be a different story THEN. Would you like it if it were your son? Wouldn't you think he would deserve a little privacy as he undresses and showers?

Look at the outrage concerning the female reporter that was secretly filmed in her hotel room. Oh BOY did that cause an (appropriate) outcry. However, men in professional sports have to deal with this after EVERY GAME! Why is it okay to subject these men to being forced to undress and shower in front of female reporters? Not so much fun when the shoe is on the other foot, is it?

I'm not condoning the actions of the Jets, not one bit, but these are guys that are totally amped-up on testosterone after playing 60 minutes of smash mouth football. What they DON'T NEED is hot women prancing around in smoking clothing in their locker room in that hormone-rich condition. The League needs to ban all women reporters in the locker room, they have no business being in there. It is disrespectful to the players, they should be able to get undressed and showered without having to worry about women being there. It's patently absurd.

What the league needs to do is this: require all players to spend ten minutes with reporters AFTER they are dressed in a green room, NOT the locker room. This way female sports reporters would have immediate access to the players after the game so they can do their job.

When they start allowing male reporters in women's soccer, volleyball and basketball locker rooms, THEN women can go back into the men's locker rooms. Until the, all women should be banned from men's professional sports locker rooms.

Women Reporters and All Reporters Have No Business in a Men's LR

Well put! First of all in this unequal politically correct world we live in there are gross double standards when it pertains to this topic. The WNBA, one of the few female sports leagues that does allow Reporter access in their locker rooms, have a short period of time after a game (30 minutes) when reporters of either gender can come in and interview players. Once that 30 minutes are up the reporters are ushered out and the players can shower and change in total privacy. In addition, no cameras are allowed in under any circumstances. At no point is an athlete naked or in any state of undress while reporters are in the locker room.

In male professional and even more disturbing college sports, Reporters of either gender can access the locker room 10 minutes after the game and spend as much time in there until the last athlete leaves. These athletes are subject to the humiliation of having to change, shower and dress in front of female reporters and female camera crews! There is so much documentation on this and several books were written over the years by female reporters on what they regularly saw in the locker room including the graphic descriptions of men's body types and parts. (I G-Rated that sentence) Remember it was a FEMALE JUDGE that passed the law that granted female reporters the "right" to be present in the locker room when men are changing and showering. There are also many instances openly discussed by female reporters interviewing athletes naked and waiting for them by the showers. There are also incidences fully discussed by these reporters of watching men at the urinals.

A more disturbing topic is the same access is granted to Female Reporters in most men's college locker rooms. In many cases you have adult women watching teen ages showering and getting dressed. What is even worse is that due to this absurd "law" females college students studying sports journalism can enter the college locker room in which their classmates are changing and taken showers. This never happens the other way meaning male reporters in the female college locker room with players in any kind of state of undress.

So there are a few questions to ask all of you politically correct ladies. Where is the actual sexual harassment? When a fully dressed lady barges in on 53 naked men trying to shower and change after practice or when a fully dressed lady who barges in on 53 naked men gets a few whistles and catcalls? Think if the shoe was on the other foot what the storyline would be? If a fully dressed man walked in on 53 naked ladies??

The bottom line is that this is an absurd double standard and male athletes do not have to be subjected to this. Especially college kids. The policy should be the same for male athletes as female athletes. NO DOUBLE STANDARDS PERIOD. If the leagues refuse to change it then the open door policy should be the same for both male and female athletes. If you want equality then double standards should not exist right? I also wouldn't mind if all reporters stayed out of the locker room until all athletes are showered and changed...seems like the most logical thing to do.

And my last question ladies, as mentioned above, how much would you like male reporters watching you change, shower and sticking a microphone in your face when you are naked? Especially you female reporters...would any of you dare answer this honestly?