Tuesday

Only Two Things - The Female Sports Scribe's Plight


It's the water cooler topic du jour" ...and a great subject for today's show.

It's being called the "Ines Sainz situation" by some, Ines Sainz being the little known NFL sideline reporter who's found herself at the center of a Media Maelstrom after an incident on Saturday involving several NY Jets, a pair of skin-tight jeans, and some stereotypically boorish behavior.

The basic situation not new: a female sports journalist is subjected to lewd/lascivious/demeaning remarks by the players she's covering. It can happen on the field or in the locker room, and there are myriad variations, but what often follows is scrutiny and criticism of the reporter herself. And that certainly happened this time around.

However, the Ines Sainz story is not quite as formulaic as it initially seemed. This particular version of the "Female Sports Scribe's Plight" appears to have as much to do with the issues sports media is trying to work out with itself... as it does with any one journalist's brush with locker room lasciviousness.

From watching several of the Sainz interviews yesterday I was left with distinct impression that this incident may well not have ever even come to light had other journalists not gotten involved.

As Ms. Sainz tells it, she was doing her job on Saturday, without much regard for the player's loutish behavior. She admits to being aware of the catcalls, whistling and remarks... and realizing they were being directed at her.... but maintains that she had tuned them out and was going on with her business, waiting to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, when a fellow reporter approached her and "apologized" for the frat-boy behavior that was being directed at her, insisting it was "unacceptable" and "not OK". Only then did the incident become an issue.

From what I understand, it was at that point that Sainz tweeted that she was “dying of embarrassment” and "averting her eyes" while waiting for Sanchez to arrive. Apparently he did and the actual interview went off without a hitch, because the reporter then tweeted "mission accomplished great interview"

Then a bit later she tweeted, "some media people are saying I was dressed inappropriately for the Jets locker room". She included a photo of the outfit she was wearing... and it was glaringly easy to see why traditional sports journalists might call it inappropriate.

Ultimately, what struck me was that Ines Sainz seemed more uncomfortable with the reactions of some of her fellow journalists ... and some of those fellow journalists seemed more uncomfortable with her particular style... than anyone really was with the sophomoric antics of a couple of NY Jets.

Once again it brings to light the fact that the very nature of sports media has changed... drastically... and many in the business, as well as many fans, are currently grappling with those changes.

In today's environment athletes and sports teams... not to mention their sponsors... want/need to get maximum exposure and to that end, award press credentials to a wide variety of media outlets

To me, this case is a picture perfect example of "INFOtainment" bumping up against "traditional journalism".

They're two very different forms of media... with different standards of dress and behavior... that suddenly find themselves sharing the same space. Nowadays they routinely vye for the same interviews and compete for the same eyeballs. Tensions and resentments are inevitable. I believe that's precisely what happened here.

As far as Ines Sainez is concerned, within 24 hours reports of the incident in the locker room had found their way to the The Association for Women in Sports Media... presumably communicated by a concerned fellow journalist... and on Sunday morning Sainez received a personal apology from the owner of the New York Jets. She thanked him and has spent most of the past 48 hours on news and entertainment shows confirming that she's "put the whole thing behind her".

The NFL, for their part, has launched an investigation into the reports of inappropriate behavior and the incident has become a referendum on issues like: "what is appropriate attire for a female sports reporter" and should journalists (male and female) be allowed in sports locker rooms at all". Some of the opinions and observations that have been voiced contain elements that are a tad bit disturbing, such as bombastic, blowhard Rush Limbaugh's use of the words "Bubblicious" "Bootylicious" to describe Ms. Sainz, and the Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis' rambling statements about how ..."You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she's going to want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's ..."

So there's our topic, the so-called "Ines Sainz situation"

It's a big one... with lots of moving parts and I'd love to hear what you think about it. We'll be discussing it tonight from 9:30 - 10:30PM ET on "Only Two Things". You can weigh in on-air by using call-in number 917-889-9592. Or join the conversation in the chat room or on Twitter... or just listen in at Blog Talk Radio Talk to you tonight.