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Sainz controversy stirs up shades of gray

Posted by Bill Koch on September 16, 2010

Ines Sainz is supposed to be a professional journalist, but she’s not.

An NFL locker room is supposed to be a professional environment, but it’s not.

Somewhere the two met earlier this week and controversy erupted, as Sainz was allegedly harassed by members of the New York Jets while covering one of their practices. Sainz was in town to do a profile piece on quarterback Mark Sanchez, who – with all due apologies to those who compete in the boxing ring – might be the country’s highest profile Mexican-American athlete. What followed was a maelstrom that hasn’t completely died down yet, and we here at Ramble On feel it’s necessary as journalists to give you all a little perspective on what we think of all this.

Sainz is little more than a sideshow in her capacity as a reporter for TV Azteca, a Mexican-based television station that sends her to high-profile events to do the sorts of puff pieces that pass for entertainment on their airwaves. She bills herself as television’s hottest reporter (her words, not ours). At past Super Bowl media days, which are nothing but an absolute circus every time, Sainz has been seen in search of the player with the biggest biceps. It’s hard to take someone like this seriously. She gives a bad name to true pros like Jackie MacMullan and Christine Brennan, women who have crusaded for and received the hard-earned respect of their peers and the athletes they cover.

The average group of professional athletes is a living, breathing episode of Men Behaving Badly. They cheat on their wives, use drugs, blow cash by the thousands and run wild thanks to a sense of entitlement that is as vast as the day is long. Clinton Portis confirmed the amount of respect that they have for female journalists of any kind with his comments earlier this week. His remarks played right into every negative stereotype that could be thrown at Portis and his fellow NFL players.

The problem with this issue is that it’s a matter of perception, and that leads to nothing but gray area. There is no black and white. Our take on this – both sides are wrong. Sainz never should have been given a credential by the Jets or any other team because everyone should know by now what she’s all about. Once she has that credential, however, the Jets are obligated to treat Sainz just like they would treat anyone else sent to cover their team and give that person the respect that he or she deserves. It’s supposed to be easy to do the right thing no matter who you are or what side of this issue you’re on, but it’s not.


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