Sainz, 32, a married mother of three, has nine years' experience as an on-air sports reporter. The controversy came after she covered the New York Jets game for Mexico's Aztec TV. First, during practice on Sunday, the players gently lobbed passes in her direction on the sidelines to get a better look at her assets. Then, when she entered the locker room to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez the next day, the situation grew more tense. Tense enough that Sainz opted not to return, reporting only from the sidelines last night.
While Sanchez himself was "a gentleman," says Sainz, one of the players was naked, a few allegedly catcalled her, yelling, "I want to play with a Mexican," while another Jet remarked on her looks in Spanish.
In the moment, Sainz decided to ignore the behavior, later tweeting that she was "dying of embarrassment" at the time. In fact, it was another female reporter who first approached her and asked whether the situation was making her uncomfortable, Sainz said on the "Today" show this morning. Otherwise, she never would have even reported the incident.
Asking for it? Doesn't sound like she was really asking for more than the right to do her job without being objectified.
In fact, it was the Association of Women in Sports Media that first took up her cause. Then the Jets' general manager issued a formal apology, with team members to undergo sensitivity training about the appropriate way to treat female reporters in their midst. Yet it still seems like all anyone can talk about is whether, through it all, Sainz was appropriately dressed.
What was the attire provoking the attacks? First, on the sidelines, it was a pair of tight jeans and a white button-down, which, with its V-neck, revealed Sainz' cleavage.
Then it was the quintessential little black dress: "Sexy TV reporter Ines Sainz slinked into last night's Jet game in a black minidress with a plunging neckline," crowed the New York Post. Only when was the last time you heard of any male reporter slinking anywhere? In fact, have we ever discussed so much as the color of one of their ties?
When Sainz appeared on "Today" this morning to defend herself, the chatter over her short skirt and peek-a-boo blouse -- and not the harassment, or whether it prevented her from doing her job -- swelled to a deafening roar in the blogosphere.
"Why don't they give the women reporters a sensitivity course on how to dress professionally ... her blouse, which exposed her breasts a little too much, belonged on MTV, not on a morning news show," carped a commenter on Babble.
A commenter on The Early Lead blog on the Washington Post went so far as to declare that Sainz gives professional women reporters a bad name. She wasn't deserving of an apology, wrote jj1968, based on her wardrobe alone.
In our scorebook, that's a glaring double standard.
And the bottom line is this: Whether Sainz has strutted her stuff in Miss Universe or not, wearing form-fitting jeans or an above-the-knee skirt doesn't qualify you as a target deserving of unwanted sexual advances. Think about it: If that were the case, wouldn't we have the right to heckle every member of the Jets over their painted-on pants?
Instead we talk about how well they throw footballs.
The sad truth is that women -- even if they can hold their own on the field -- are still judged by their looks and their hemlines.
And attractive women in particular have a tough tightrope to walk. The fact remains, Sainz is hot, young and good at her job. Even if she chooses to wear less than your average American Apparel model, it doesn't give any athlete any right to treat her as anything other than the professional she is.
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