The Jets and the NFL mobilized quickly at the first whiff of trouble regarding the visit of TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz to the Jets’ practice and locker room. The lawyers in the crowd realize that, in situations like this, prudence requires a thorough investigation and a demonstrated commitment to avoid similar situations in the future.
The P.R. specialists in the crowd understand that there’s far more to the story, especially with the NFL operating in a nation that enjoys a high percentage of males who love football, and a small-but-hopefully-growing percentage of women.
Apart from any legal liability for sexual harassment or hostile work environment or gender discrimination, the league could alienate plenty of women (and also plenty of men) if the league tolerates any words or behavior that arguably represent misogynistic attitudes on the part of the men who play the game. That’s why, in our view, Redskins running back Clinton Portis apologized so quickly on Monday after another patented Portis rambling rant, in which he said that among other things that female reporters in an NFL locker room “get to go look at 53 men’s packages.”
And it’s why, in our view, the tone of Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett’s Twitter page changed so quickly today, from “I
don’t know what was said to her or whatever but u just have to know u
going into a TEAM LOCKEROOM, and if its that serious WOMEN STAY OUT!” to “I
think all men should respect women at all times no matter what And
women should be able to work where ever they want! That’s my opinon!”
Look for the league to continue to look for any evidence of players saying things that could constitutes hostility or animosity or any other improper attitude toward females in the locker room, and to move swiftly to persuade the player to alter his statements. For now, we’ve yet to hear anything from the NFLPA on this matter, but the union has the same incentive as the league to ensure that nothing players say or do will cause portions of the audience to decide to no longer pay attention to the game.
UPDATE: The NFLPA has issued a general statement regarding the situation.
“Comments and behavior that are offensive to any group or individual are not tolerated and are not reflective of our membership,” says the statement forwarded to us by union spokesman George Atallah.