What started out as a run-of-the-mill Tuesday conversation with Redskins running back Clinton Portis on D.C. sports radio’s 106.7 The Fan has now been immortalized by Dan Steinberg via the Sports Bog as another example of male chauvinism in D.C. sports.
During The Mike Wise show at 10:30 this morning, Portis offered his opinion regarding the buzz currently circulating female reporter Ines Sainz. Sainz has made headlines in recent days due to the NFL investigating a complaint filed by the Association of Women in Sports Media on behalf of Sainz who claims that members of the New York Jets harassed her on the field and in the locker room when she visited their practice facility to do a story on their quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The matter is still under review according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen who received word from a league spokesman, but in the meantime Mr. Portis offered his two cents:
“You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman. For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can’t interact and you can’t be involved with athletes, you can’t talk to these guys, you can’t interact with these guys.
“And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages. And you’re just sitting here, saying ‘Oh, none of this is attractive to me.’ I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m gonna cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.”
As a sports reporter who just so happens to be a woman, I have to say that going to a game and talking to the players is viewed as a job. It has never been an opportunity to ogle “somebody who sparks my interest” in the moment. There are plenty of female faces in press boxes and on the sidelines these days who treat their work in the field as their top priority as a professional.
Maybe in the future Mr. Portis will take time to remember that the women with a recorder and notepad are doing a job and not looking to book a date.
Update as of 3:56 p.m.: Portis issued an apology through the Redskins for his off-the-cuff remarks made on 106.7 The Fan this morning:
“I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize. I respect the job that all reporters do. It is a tough job and we all have to work and act in a professional manner. I understand and support the team on these issues.”
Here’s the upside to all of this — The Redskins and Portis responded way faster than the Nationals and MASN Sports when an ex-Reds relief pitcher turned broadcaster alienated half the Nationals fan base in August with his remarks on live television. Then again, Portis’ comments were regarding women in the media while the comments toward the Nationals regarding women were based on fans seen in the stands during a game.
In either case though, the bottom line is that this might be the 21st century, but women still experience a double-standard in the work place and elsewhere on a daily basis no matter if they’re acting in a professional manner or not.
The comments made by Portis this morning only draws attention to that fact.