The case (sort of) for Ines Sainz
1. The number of people who start out by saying "I don't think anyone should be harassed" then proceed to detail what Sainz was wearing. Yes, her tops often are low-cut and her dresses short or her jeans tight. I wouldn't be able to walk either a sidewalk or a sideline in some of the shoes she wears on. But so what? I've seen just as bad at the office, and I don't especially like it because I'm old school that way. But that doesn't mean that a woman's wardrobe overrides laws that protect workers from discrimination. Shouldn't we be decades past "she had it coming" as a defense?
2. The number of people who say "I'm all for women's rights ..." but then add that women have no place in a professional sports locker room. I'm looking at you, Lance Briggs, though he didn't necessarily come out with statements in support of NOW.
"I don't think women should be in the locker room," Briggs told NBCChicago.com. "The locker room is the place where us guys, us football players, we dress, we shower, we're naked, we're walking around and we're bombarded by media. A lot of times I'm asking the media to wait until I'm dressed."
Good for you, Lance. I don't particularly like interviewing naked people either. But why is it different for Briggs if the reporter is a woman?
3. The number of people who pretend that female sportscasters are the only ones hired for something other than journalistic ability. Not that I'm saying that's the case with Sainz. I really don't know. She has a law degree, so there's a more than reasonable chance that her biggest assets aren't the ones she's being criticized for revealing too much of.
But let me ask you this: Which Sportscaster U alum do you think will get a job first - Shaq or that stats geek who can tell you everyone who's been below the Mendoza line since before Mendoza was born but who doesn't have a ring? It's not right, but it's reality.
Most of all, though, it ticks me off that some try to contend that Sainz hurts the credibility of all female sports journalists. I really don't see that she does, any more than a bumbling ex-jock hurts the credibility of all men. And, to repeat, I don't know that she's a bumbler.
Again, aren't we decades past judging all women - or men - by the actions, attire and professional standards of one? I'd like to say I'm shocked that we're not, but deep down, I'm not surprised in the least.
For all our "progress" in workplace, we really haven't made it very far as long as these type of evaluations still are taking place. Nor have we made it very far if we still think that the only reason women cover sports is to gawk, or if we suggest that someone can't be easy on the eye and also have a brain.
Ines Sainz doesn't offend me now any more than Phyllis George did back in the day. What does offend me, though, is those who insist that all of us be judged by someone else's conduct simply because we share a gender. Particularly when we're making pejorative judgments about that someone based on wardrobe selection.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.