Jets-Sainz mess brings ugly locker room misogyny to light

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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One day, we all woke up and NFL locker rooms had suddenly transformed into an episode of Mad Men.

New York Jets players are accused of harassing a female reporter. That was right after they told her to make dinner.

Would have been nice if the Jets had saved all of that pent up energy for the Baltimore Ravens, but I guess it's easier to intimidate a petite female reporter than Ray Lewis.

Clinton Portis' comments are indicative of a pervasive attitude against women in the locker room. (AP)  
Clinton Portis' comments are indicative of a pervasive attitude against women in the locker room. (AP)  
After 125 yards in penalties the only thing Jets players should be harassing is game film.

The Jets did however do one thing we should all be grateful for. They exposed something I've believed for years: Many male athletes view women only as something to ogle. Seen and not heard. That's how they like their ladies.

This view was publicly reinforced not only by the Jets but other resident fools in the aftermath of the incident. First came cultural expert and dog fighting defender Clinton Portis. He was asked about the fiasco involving TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz and her disgraceful treatment at the hands of slobbering Jets players in the locker room.

"You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman," Portis said to a DC radio station. "For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can't interact and you can't be involved with athletes, you can't talk to these guys, you can't interact with these guys.

"And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages. And you're just sitting here, 'Oh, none of this is attractive to me.' I know you're doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I'm gonna' cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I'm sure they do the same thing."

That's right. Women journalists are there only to peep your junk, bra'.

I'd ask Portis to consider this question: If someone stereotyped African-Americans the way he stereotyped women journalists, how would he feel?

Not that anyone should take seriously a guy who wears wigs and glitter. But see what Portis says there? Women come in the locker room only to check guys out. That couldn't be further from the truth, but based on 20 years of covering sports and taking literally thousands of trips inside locker rooms and clubhouses, what Portis says is a prevailing notion among male athletes.

After Portis came Arizona's Darnell Dockett. He Tweeted: "All I can do is LOL at the jets Female Reporter! She walks into a locker room full of men and think some one not gonna say nothing LMFAO!!!"

OMG!!! Dumbass!!!

What Dockett said is just another form of saying: She was asking for it.

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This Sainz situation isn't going away soon and continues to gain national traction mainly because pro athletes keep exposing themselves (sorry) as a bunch of crotchety, non-modern men stuck in the 1950s. In sports, we still live in the Dark Ages when it comes to men and women. The Renaissance hasn't hit locker rooms; it has yet to penetrate the stale, old-school mindsets of athletes and some sports journalists alike.

As a close woman journalist friend of mine stated, Ines is no Rosa Parks (more like Rosie Perez). But she is still a credentialed member of the media. Women journalists (women, period) deserve to be treated with respect no matter how tight they wear their jeans.

But this issue is larger than that. Our society still has difficulty accepting strong women in leadership roles. Sports are just a symptom of this.

In some ways, I can't blame athletes for thinking women journalists are only in locker rooms to hand over their panties. Some blame the way Sainz dresses as the reason why Jets players allegedly lost their minds, but look around our media and society. Seen a beer commercial lately or GoDaddy.com ad? Do you notice what professional cheerleaders wear? (Answer: practically nothing.)

Have you seen how women are portrayed in some of the most popular television shows? Do I need to even get into some of the rap lyrics about women?

There was a recent statistic stating women earned more PhD's than men in 2008, but watch Entourage and you'd think the only thing women do is sleep with movie stars.

The sports world may be worse than anything Vincent Chase could ever dream up. You think I'm exaggerating? In the span of one week, we have Jets players and coaches pulling their alleged stunts followed by Portis and Dockett's comments. "The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive and have no place in the NFL," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement regarding Portis. "We have contacted the Redskins and they will discuss the matter directly with Mr. Portis."

The NFL had to take a stand, not only for moral reasons but also for practical ones. Surveys show a large chunk of the league's fans are women.

There are certainly some non-misogynists among the athlete ranks.

"Just be respectful," Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said to the Bergen Record. "Some guys might not like it [women in the locker room] but it's not that big a deal. For me, I've got six sisters. I know how I would want them to be treated. Not like that."

Not like that.

This is becoming real life Mad Men, only more maddening.

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