The Ines Sainz situation took about six different turns yesterday, from Clinton Portis commenting that women in the locker room can’t resist “53 packages” to his subsequent (forced) apology to many women in the media disassociating themselves with Sainz by pointing out that she’s not a “journalist.”
It’s become a four letter word, that journalism.
Before a rant about that, I’m happy to talk with Cindy Boren, a veteran sports reporter and editor at the Washington Post who now also runs their sub-site The Early Lead. Women in the locker room (and press box and sideline) is really an issue?
“I feel like I’ve been transported back in time to 1975 or something. Women in the locker rooms…it’s an issue? Please. Haven’t we all been going in for years and years. My whole life — my whole career in sports, over 20 years — I’ve been going into locker rooms. And it was difficult at first, but it hasn’t been an issue for the last…ten years. Until, I guess now, it is.”
The conversation goes through all those many different turns, including the question of whether or not anyone with a credential is a working member of “the media.” Is there a difference between “the media” and “a journalist” in this situation? Should there be?
Boren tells some really interesting stories about how she was treated when first starting out, including once getting a hair dryer thrown at her by a baseball player (she doesn’t name names). Is the sentiment of women in the locker room any different, or are players just more politically correct now (to some extent)?
And why are the players always naked in the locker room? Is it that important to control the situation? They could easily put on a towel when the media comes in, but some don’t on purpose. Because it’s funny to make those with clothes on feel uncomfortable. Or, in the case of Portis, because they assume the media really wants to see the goods.
So it’s ironic, then that the NFL and the Washington Redskins castrated Portis by making him apologize. What will he say next week on his radio show, and can we trust that it’s not some saccharin version of what he really thinks. Is Portis a member of the media because he has a microphone and gets paid by a media company? Is THAT journalism?
No. It’s not. But are blogs? Are people doing this for free (or very little money)? It’s an enormously gray area, this new world of media. It’s interesting that it took a reporter from one of the two biggest TV stations in Mexico to help us continue the conversation.
At the end, I rant more about the concept of “journalism.” Hopefully it’s worth the listen. Thanks to Cindy, and to you.