In response to the New York Jets’ boorish behavior toward Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz last week — led by their embarrassing buffoon of a coach, Rex Ryan — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has announced a new training program for all 32 NFL teams, educating players and coaches on proper conduct in the workplace. Following last week’s critical commentary on the Jets for their embarrassing display, I feel compelled to address the other party in this controversy.
Ines Sainz, the target of the harassing catcalls that prompted her to file a complaint, is going to need an Academy Award-winning performance if she’s going to sell herself in the role of “victim” here. One quick image search of Sainz reveals exactly what she is: A bikini model carrying a microphone. Her job is to sell sex — or at least sexuality — to the viewers of TV Azteca in Mexico. And it’s about time someone says so.
Truth is, someone who dresses like a stripper and acts like a stripper has no right to complain when someone treats them like a stripper. In other words, when Ms. Sainz puts on skin-tight tops with necklines that plunge all the way to her abs, her intention is to call attention to her bust. When she wears low-rise pants so tight you’d think she’s appearing in the body-paint pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, her intent is to call attention to her rear end. She has even bragged that she is
“The sexiest sports reporter in the world!” How, then, can she complain when men give her the attention that she seeks?
And for those who declare any criticism of Sainz for her sideline attire, or lack thereof, to be rooted in misogyny or sexism — this is neither.
Ask the body builder who struts through nightclubs in tight, sleeveless muscle shirts if his goal isn’t to have people stare at and compliment the size of his biceps. It’s exactly what he’s hoping for, and he won’t file a complaint when a woman approaches him, stares at his broad shoulders and big arms, and says “Wow!”
But if a man approaches Ms. Sainz and says the same thing, while staring at her barely covered body? Well, clearly he’s a sexist pig who has no respect for women. Rubbish.
This story is not about women in the sports world, or even equal-access for women in the locker room. There is no one calling for discrimination against women who are there to do their jobs. In fact, one could argue that until male reporters are allowed into U.S. Open locker rooms to interview Maria Sharapova wearing a towel — which is the equivalent of female reporters in postgame NFL locker rooms — it’s actually men that are discriminated against in this area.
But I digress.
This is about Ines Sainz, who has done more to hurt the cause for women in the sports workplace than the most sexist male ever could. Has anyone asked why Suzy Kolber and Bonnie Bernstein, two beautiful women in the sportscasting industry, have never complained of inappropriate comments on the job? It’s because they dress as professional reporters. They are taken seriously because they take their jobs — and their images — seriously.
Maybe Ines could take a lesson.
Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.