Hey, Ines Sainz: a Little Gratitude for AWSM Might Be Nice
But Sainz's declaration that AWSM "acted so impulsively" in coming to her defense in the roughly two weeks since members of the New York Jets' playing roster and coaching staff demeaned her is more than just a violation of Miss Manners' code of civility.
For Sainz, the former Miss Universe contestant turned television reporter, not to recognize the significance of why an organization of female media workers would want to protect the interests and good name of a woman who had been harassed in the workplace is incredibly short-sighted.
From the moment word broke that Jets defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman threw passes near Sainz during a drill to try to get his players to run into/brush against her while she waited to interview Mark Sanchez, AWSM leapt to her defense.
And when word emerged that Sainz was the object of leering and catcalls in the locker room, AWSM again fought the good fight on Sainz's behalf, requesting that the NFL conduct a full investigation and hold people accountable. As a result, the league will conduct training sessions with all 32 teams.
The Jets will foot the bill for these sessions, and while neither NFL commissioner Roger Goodell nor AWSM president Amy Moritz would call the bill a fine, the Jets aren't picking up the tab out of the kindness of their corporate hearts.
Moritz said the organization has attempted "repeatedly" to contact Sainz to offer support, but has never received a response, which speaks volumes.
Throughout the entire flap, Sainz, billed in some corners as one of the "World's Hottest Female Sports Reporters," has been a less than ideal victim. For instance, Moritz said AWSM has "repeatedly" attempted to contact Sainz to lend support, but has, to date, never received a response.
Critics seized upon pictures of Sainz in bikinis and on the red carpet in her native Mexico as proof that she was less than a serious journalist. Others pointed to her appearance at a Super Bowl media day where she was willingly hoisted on the shoulders of two Indianapolis Colts linemen, a situation no reporter worth his or her salt would ever tolerate.
On the day in question, Sainz was reportedly dressed in a manner many deemed unprofessional.
Indeed, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Ashley Fox wrote last week, "You also don't walk into an NFL locker room wearing jeans that leave little to the imagination and a blouse that reveals your substantial cleavage. You don't have to dress ultra-conservatively, but you have to be smart. If you want to be treated like a girl at a bar, dress like a girl at a bar. If you want to be treated professionally and without incident, cover up."
In addition, Sainz has flip-flopped like a politician on how she was affected by the incidents. Immediately, from the locker room, she tweeted that she would "die of embarrassment," only to make the rounds of the American morning TV shows, saying she was never offended and never felt in danger.
In her latest blast, Sainz wrote a column for E! Universal with the unconscionable headline "My September 11 in New York" (Ed. Note: referring to the date of the alleged incident, not of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.) In the piece, she said she was "shaken" by the media coverage and that the way the story had been played would "set back the women's movement by at least 50 years."
She added that she couldn't understand why "a well-respected association acted so impulsively," referring to AWSM. Her answer should have come a couple of days later when Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis postulated that some female reporters were checking out players while in the locker room. A few days later, Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs declared that women didn't belong in the locker room.
AWSM moved quickly before sentiments like those of Briggs and Portis took hold and before they would have to re-fight a battle that has been largely settled for 25 years -- while Portis and Briggs were likely pulling on girls' pigtails in kindergarten.
And yet, through all of this, even as Ines Sainz was apparently pushing the snooze button and extending her 15 minutes of fame even longer, AWSM was willing to go to the mat for her and for other women who, just like their male counterparts, rely on locker room access and the professionalism of the athletes they cover to properly do their jobs.
At this point, perhaps the best thing Sainz can do for AWSM is not to say thanks for standing up for her, but to just say nothing at all.