According to reports that began to circulate over the weekend, the New York Jets are conducting an internal investigation in response to accusations that staff allegedly harassed a female reporter, Ines Sainz, during one of their practices.
Sainz a long-time reporter for Mexico’s TV Azteca was in the Jets’ facility to do a piece on Mark Sanchez when she began getting “unwanted” attention from players and staff alike.
As she waited for Sanchez on the sidelines and observed practice, Jets coach, Rex Ryan allegedly instructed his assistant coach to conduct passing drills close to the reporter. The list of volunteers who were interested in running the drill was much longer than usual and included players that really had nothing to do with the drill.
When Sainz went into the locker room later on, she was met with hoots and whistles. According to another female reporter that spoke with Deadspin the whole thing was done far more jokingly than with any sort of bad intentions.
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Nevertheless, Sainz felt very uncomfortable with the amount of, and the type of attention she received. She went on to Tweet the following this weekend:
This is a very touchy situation.
There is never any justification for anyone making a reporter feel uncomfortable. In an arena dominated by male reporters, female reporters have had to work longer and harder to achieve a fraction of the success that their male counterparts have received. It is still an uphill battle for them to be seen as equals and that battle should not be ignored.
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Here is where it becomes a grey area, though: While again, the behavior cannot and should not be justified, was it really unexpected? Glancing at the photos related to her, does it really seem like Sainz, knowing she is covering sports dominated by male athletes, is doing her part to keep things professional? According to reports she was wearing the white shirt and jeans depicted in the Twitter photo. That being said, though, it does seem like she makes a habit of dressing in a way that would obviously grab men’s attention.
The situation isn’t fair, by a longshot. Nobody goes up to a male reporter from ESPN and tells them to dress in a way that will make them eye candy for the cameras but not sexy to the point where athletes will be distracted. It’s terrible that women have to go through this, and there is really no way of justifying it. However, it is the situation that is currently out there, and we’re all aware of it.
And if we’re all aware of it, how could Sainz not be?
What do you think of this whole mess? Was Sainz dressed appropriately for the setting she was in? Or was the Jets’ behavior to be expected given how she was presenting herself, and to the audience she was presenting herself to?