Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If Ines Sainz and Kevin Blackistone are “Sports Journalists,” Sports Journalism is Dead

By Nicholas Stix

Highlights from the Sports Journalism Career of Ines Sainz





Ines Sainz is the Spanish beauty queen who was hired by Mexico’s TV Azteca to be a hot tamale on TV. Then, when she went to interview New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in a locker room full of naked men, something happened which, if you read pc sports writers and professional feminists, was something like a gang rape, or… men calling out her name.
Prior to her presence in the locker room - where players called out to the TV Azteca reporter - footballs were thrown in her direction by a Jets coach during practice.

Sainz knows she’s no journalist, Azteca knows it, and sports fans know it. Unfortunately, people like Kevin Blackistone are saying otherwise. Blackistone, a walking feminist talking points machine, is also no journalist, but he seems to have deluded himself into believing that he is. Or maybe he doesn’t care.

I made some bracketed remarks within the text. I previously wrote an essay-length response, but in spite of multiple attempts to post it at AOL, which published Blackistone’s piece, I couldn’t so much as get a box to open. My response follows his column.

Ines Sainz Issue Shows Us Why Sexism Doesn't Belong in Pro Sports
9/13/2010 11:46 PM ET By Kevin Blackistone

Little time passed between the moment TV reporter Ines Sainz tweeted Saturday about how uncomfortable some Jets' coaches and players made her feel, as she attempted to do her job interviewing Mark Sanchez, and the initiation of an investigation by the Jets' brass and the NFL into her complaint.

Jets owner Woody Johnson (pictured below) reached out immediately to Sainz in apology, promised that he would get to the bottom of it and issued a statement decrying any boorish behavior toward women in the locker room. League spokesman Greg Aiello stated Sunday that commissioner Roger Goodell wanted to know all the facts.

That was a far cry from what happened 20 years ago this week when my colleague Lisa Olson suffered derision in the Patriots' locker room aimed at her gender. The Patriots owner at the time crudely dismissed her complaint. The league finally got around to looking into what happened to her, which resulted in a voluminous report damning the behavior of some Patriots, particularly Zeke Mowatt, who was fined for his abhorrent behavior.

So if there is a positive to be taken from the still-unfolding Sainz story, it is that some people -- those most responsible for selling America's pastime to more sports fans, especially women, than any sport in our country -- were reminded of something rather fundamental in this country: Sexual harassment and discrimination has [sic] no place in our workplaces. Both, in fact, are against the law.

"I want to make it clear that in no moment did I even feel offended, much less at risk or in danger while there."

What some people in sports need to have underscored for them in our new journalistic environment, however, is that that protection doesn't shrink with the fit of jeans or disappear with the height of a hemline. Women in journalism, or any line of work, shouldn't be subjected to as much as sexual innuendo for any reason.

Some among us aren't taking seriously what Sainz, who reports for TV Azteca in Mexico, said happened to her because she is a former Miss Spain and Miss Universe contestant, allows her employer's Web site to post pictures of her in bikinis, refers to herself as "the hottest reporter in Mexico," and reinforces all of the above in her work attire. At the Colts' last Super Bowl press day, she even allowed herself to be hoisted onto the shoulder pads of a couple of linemen and paraded around like some Babylonian goddess.

No, Sainz doesn't share the same rung in journalism as a distinguished and serious writer like Olson, or the women -- Lesley Visser, Christine Brennan, etc. -- who rallied around Olson twenty years ago and this week are rallying around Sainz. She's part of the growing breed of female journalists who stand out more because of how they look than what they report.

Sainz doesn't represent a new model. To some extent, Jayne Kennedy and Phyllis George (maybe even Downtown Julie Brown) preceded her. But there are a lot more Sainzes, Kennedys and Georges nowadays, including women whose reporting is just as noteworthy as whatever aesthetic they meet yet find themselves diminished, unfortunately, because of their appearance.

If all of that sounds sexist, it's because it is. Men rarely if ever get judged similarly, in large part because we're doing most of the evaluating. But it is as sexist to judge people's abilities based on their gender as it is racist to make a similar distinction based on skin color.

It doesn't matter that Sainz made the media rounds on Monday telling every interviewer that what she tweeted happened at the Jets' practice facility wasn't as terrible as maybe her tweet made it sound. "I want to make clear that in no moment did I even feel offended, much less at risk or in danger while there," the New York Daily News quoted Sainz telling the Spanish-language program DeporTV on Monday. "It was simply a situation that got out of hand. I waited for the interview with Mark Sanchez, we did it and it turned out great. ... the next day the press is reporting that I was a victim of harassment and inappropriate behavior by the Jets."

What happened to Sainz is bigger than her.

What happened to Sainz is why the NFL in 1985 implemented a policy mandating that female journalists have the same access to players as male journalists. It is why a month after Olson was violated that then-NFL boss Paul Tagliabue levied what then was the biggest fine against a coach, Sam Wyche, after Wyche barred a female reporter from his Bengals locker room declaring that, "I will not allow women to walk in on 50 naked men."

I've never seen a nude woman in a women's locker room, and never looked for one.
The NFL couldn't afford to let that sort of culture fester if it hoped to appeal to everyone. [Appealing to everyone is an impossibility. And how would yielding to feminists who have no interest in it, save for undermining it, make a masculine sport more popular?] Fast forward 20 years and the league can't afford [why not?] the sort of culture Jets' coach Rex Ryan -- our favorite new caricature of the boisterous, cussing football coach, thanks to Ryan's self-absorbed performance on HBO's "Hard Knocks" -- seemed to be cultivating with his club.

First, there were all the characters he brought in, most notably Antonio Cromartie, who was stereotypically portrayed as an irresponsible black man by having a multitude of children by a multitude of women. (It never gets pointed out that white men like Clint Eastwood, Rod Stewart, Charlie Sheen, Mick Jagger, Kevin Federline or Kevin Costner have a multitude of children by a multitude of women, but that's a subject for another column.) Then came his salty language that got him in trouble with the NFL's moralist, former coach Tony Dungy.

[Oh, so it’s white men who are fathering over 70% of their children out of wedlock. Thanks for straightening me out on that matter. And who “stereotypically portrayed” Cromartie “as an irresponsible black man,” as opposed to simply irresponsible? Don’t hide behind the passive voice.]

And all of that came before a team with a fan base that was criticized for how it encouraged women to demean themselves on game days at the old Giants Stadium where the Jets played.

The Sainz incident also came after an offseason in which the league suspended the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for all but preying on young women.

A New York Daily News poll asked readers if Ryan's "Hard Knocks" performance and the Sainz incident gave the Jets an undesirable image. At last look, 57 percent of respondents said it did. [And how many of them were actual Jets’ fans, and how many fans are now going to refuse to watch Jets’ games, as opposed to the influx of fans whom Ryan is attracting to the club?]

Pro football may be a man's game, whatever that means [?!]. But masculinity doesn't have anything to do with disrespectfulness.

Response by Nicholas Stix

Kevin Blackistone,

You never supported your title: “Ines Sainz Issue Shows Us Why Sexism Doesn't Belong in Pro Sports.”

As you yourself pointed out, Sainz was hired because of her sex, and everything that she and her employer do, flaunts that. Then you contradict yourself, and say that she shouldn’t be judged, based on that. I see logic isn’t your strong suit.

“Sexual harassment and discrimination has no place in our workplaces. Both, in fact, are against the law.”

If a woman walking around a locker room full of naked men isn’t sexual harassment, then the term means nothing more than yet another feminist power play.

Lisa Olson didn’t belong in that locker room 20 years ago, and Ines Sainz doesn’t belong in one now.

Sam Wyche took a heroic stand on behalf of common sense and basic decency.

“Women in journalism, or any line of work, shouldn't be subjected to as much as sexual innuendo for any reason.”

If a woman acts like a slut, then she should be recognized as such. You condemn men who act boorishly. You don’t say that they are entitled to the same respect as men who act gentlemanly. So, you’re a hypocrite, which makes logical consistency and moral decency impossible. But then, your being a feminist makes hypocrisy obligatory.

“If all of that sounds sexist, it's because it is. Men rarely if ever get judged similarly, in large part because we're doing most of the evaluating.”

It’s because men don’t get hired to be sports reporters, based on their having won a beauty contest, and on how good they look in tight jeans or bikinis. Otherwise, Sainz wouldn’t have her job. She’s not a “journalist” at all.

“I've never seen a nude woman in a women's locker room, and never looked for one.”

Either you’re a liar, or there’s something very wrong with you. In any event, you no more belong in a women’s locker room than a woman belongs in a men’s locker room. But I’ll tell you this: I’m so near-sighted, that my eye doctor measures my vision in miles—I’m 20/20, as in, I see from 20 feet away, what other people see from 20 miles away—but I guarantee you, if I was in a locker room full of naked women, I would see naked women.

(BTW, based on your assertions, there can be no justification for sexually segregated locker rooms, bathrooms, or changing rooms at any age, or in any walk of life.)

Your argument, far from supporting your pre-set conclusion, supports the opposite conclusion.

* * *

The only thing worse than Kevin Blackistone impersonating a sports journalist, is that he is also impersonating a journalism professor, and thus in a position to sabotage the future of any aspiring journalist unwilling to jettison logic and decency. Blackistone is a professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, whose most famous former student is New York Times affirmative action hire, fraud, and serial plagiarist, Jayson Blair (See here, here, and here). Hey, maybe Kevin Blackistone can mentor the next Jayson Blair. That’s the ticket!


Anonymous said...


Well said. The term "stereotype" is a favorite negative term of media people. They are too dim to make the connection that any stereotype is based on reality.

David In TN

Nicholas Stix said...

Thanks, David.

These people don't think... about anything. They're on autopilot.

eh said...

This article is also a hoot.

Omnivore said...

Sports journalism (so-called) is the most PC and leftwing infected of all forms of journalism nowadays. Heck, even movie reviewers occasionally show signs of perceptiveness. Sports journalists (so-called) are complete leftards.

My major problem with Ines is that she's a fake beauty. Her fake breasts disgust me. Her features are hard and spinsterish. I don't fancy dyed blond hair and fake breasts at all, and I don't think any real man does.

Mansizedtarget.com said...

I love how credulous and piously politically correct sports media stars are. THey really fall over themselves to outdo one another. They have all these superficially strong disagreements about this or that team but are all like good little teachers pets when it comes to race and sex. How about this: women don't belong in locker rooms with a bunch of guys big black dicks flopping around.

Jared Joseph Boice said...

So let me get this straight...Ines Sainz markets herself in a completely sexual context...yet she complains about the attention she got from guys in an NFL locker room??? Riiiiiight. That makes sense.

If male reporters are allowed in the ladies locker room and if Brad Pitt wore jeans half as tight as Ines Sainz and willingly entered a room of half-naked runway models to interview Miss Universe, I can promise you that A) the words sexual harassment would NEVER come up and B) he sure as hell wouldn't be complaining.

If you're an attractive female reporter and it's part of your job to interview an athlete in the company of 50 swinging dongs when their testosterone level is riding at its peak, you need to accept what comes with the territory... or find a new job. There's plenty of intellectuals that need to be interviewed in libraries. And there are hundreds of thousands of other girls more qualified than Ines who would likely welcome the attention and not lie about it.

If a female reporter is allowed to invade an athlete's privacy in the locker room, it should come as absolutely no surprise that she's gonna get whistled and hollered at. It's just common sense. That's not sexual harassment. That's normal and predictable human behavior. Don't enter a room of naked dudes and expect anything less, especially right after an NFL game. Period.

This broad should be banned from any further shenanigans in NFL media.

Bill(y) T said...

I applaud your motivation and writing. Though Blackistone seems like a nice guy, his intentions are frequently misguided and he is simply bad at formulating a point. Ths Sainz article is a clear indication of that. His being a journalism professor anywhere disturbs me.
Hsinchu, Taiwan

Jeffree Tripp said...

Great job, Nicholas. I couldn't agree with you more. Women in men's restrooms and lockerooms is totally inappropriate, whether it's reporters, team owners, cameragirls, cleaning ladies, females who don't want to wait in line in the women's room, or females who want to sneak a peak.

Feminists, however, always want to view this issue from the women's point of view: "Dont' worry the cleaning ladies aren't offended. They have seen it all before." That's not the point. The point is men want and deserve gender-specific privacy and shouldn't have it invaded by women for any reason. And feeling that way is not misogynistic, weak, or gay.