The New York Jets are under fire for harassing a reporter who said she was "dying of embarrassment" after their catcalls and other inappropriate behavior.
TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz was at the Jets' New Jersey practice facility Saturday to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, but the Jets allegedly responded to her presence with catcalls, whistling, staring, and other harassment — according to Gary Myers of the NY Daily News, "Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman reportedly was intentionally overthrowing his players in an interception drill so the ball would land at Sainz's feet." Sainz tweeted that she was "dying of embarrassment," and team owner Woody Johnson has apologized to her. Said the team in a statement,
[Johnson] stressed to Ines that he expects all members of the Jets organization to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. We will continue to work with the league to gather the facts and take appropriate steps necessary to maintain a respectful environment for the media.
Myers says "the days of women being intimidated covering sports are long gone," but they obviously aren't, as the treatment of Erin Andrews and now Sainz attest. Also not over: the hints that lady reporters are asking for it by looking sexy. The Post tells Sainz's story under the headline "Jets flagged making passes at hot reporter," and notes that she has called herself "the hottest sports reporter in Mexico." But neither being hot nor saying you're hot is an invitation for harassment, nor is the fact that "a bikini-clad Sainz has been featured in numerous photo spreads" (inexplicably, the last line in the Post's story). Myers has it right: the Sainz scandal is "about respect." Football culture has been looking pretty hostile to women lately — if teams and sportswriters alike want to turn this around, they need to treat the women who cover the game respectfully, no matter what they've been photographed wearing.