Three guys sit around a table while a female, who is working in the room, stands nearby. One of the guys comments, within earshot of the woman, that what she's wearing makes her look like a "Madame from a Shanghai whore house". Is it an NFL locker room or the latest episode of AMC's Mad Men?
If you've followed the story of Ines Sainz and the New York Jets, you might not be too sure.
I won't waste precious words to recap the entire situation, but basically Ines Sainz, a reporter for the Mexican television network TV Azteca, was attending Jets practice for the network and had coaches throw footballs in her direction during practice -- one can only assume it was done so players could check her out and talk to her -- and later, she was called out by players in the locker room.
Sainz is known for her scantily clad attire -- for some cheap page views for the company, you can see the picture here -- and crazy antics around football players (she measured players' biceps during media day when the Arizona Cardinals were in the Super Bowl). Because of this, many players, including the Redskins' Clinton Portis and the Arizona Cardinals' Darnell Dockett, and many in the media have insinuated she was "asking for it" by dressing the way she did.
Sorry, but that isn't a good enough reason to let the locker room turn into, or rather stay as, the frat house from Van Wilder.
It is like the 1st Amendment. In order to protect everyone's rights, you have to defend even those that, in many people's eyes, don't deserve it. I may not like someone saying that the President is a socialist, that Sarah Palin is retarded, that they want to burn the Koran or that Charles Barkley sucked -- hypothetically, of course -- but I'd defend their right to say it, no matter what. If we didn't defend everyone's right to free speech, when we wanted to exercise our liberty, it just might not be there anymore.
That's the situation female reporters are in. Sainz isn't exactly who they want representing them. Granted, I can't say; I don't have the prerequisite parts or lack thereof, but I wouldn't want Rick Reilly in a pair of tight jeans and a low cut shirt representing me. But in order to protect their rights, she has to be defended.
Sainz wasn't the one that complained about the treatment she received; it was fellow reporters who did. It seems as if she was fully aware that she dressed more like Linda Lovelace than Linda Cohn. Those around her did the right thing. Even if Sainz wasn't willing to admit the behavior was wrong, it shouldn't be tolerated. If it were, it would be as bad as condoning it. Locker rooms would be allowed to continue to behave like Mad Men.
Athletes are professionals and the locker room, whether anyone likes it or not, is a place of business. No one should be subject to harassment of any form. This isn't 1965.
In the same week while athletes were treating female reporters in an archaic manner, the NCAA and the Downtown Athletic Club continued to treat athletes like ladies of the night.
This summer has been one filled with examples of just how behind the times the NCAA really is. Somehow USC no longer has victories they earned and the school's football players, who never knew Reggie Bush, are being punished for events they had nothing to do with. Lane Kiffin -- a man who deserves to be punished, but not for this -- is left to clean up a mess while Pete Carroll gets to bask in the money and recognition of the NFL.
If real life worked like the NCAA did this summer, when two people got divorced their kids would be stricken from the record and they would have to wait at least two years before "getting lucky" in their next relationship.
Did Reggie Bush cheat the system? Yes. The more intriguing question is why?
Simply put, it's because the NCAA is operating in the past.
Student athletes shouldn't be treated like indentured servants. College football is now a billion dollar industry and it's all earned because of the work and on-field talents of the student athlete. The idea that giving the players a fully paid for education may have been reimbursement enough 45 years ago, but it doesn't cut it in 2010.
The top athletes, like Bush, know college is a stepping stone to fame and fortune in the National Football League. Most don't see the education as the reason for them being in school, and who could blame them? They're basically holding a winning lottery ticket, but they are being forced to hold onto it for three years before cashing it in.
The NCAA also limits the jobs an athlete can hold while at the school. It's no wonder a guy like Bush was tempted to, and did, take money and lost his Heisman or that A.J. Green is suspended four games for selling his own jersey to a booster.
It's time to let these athletes have a piece of the pie and change the rules to allow them to earn a decent wage while in school. Do that and you remove most temptation for athletes to take money from agents, boosters and other nefarious characters.
It's not very often that you can compare a situation involving a scantily clad woman to one about a college football great -- unless they are dating -- but in this case, it's apropos. It's time for both the NFL and the NCAA to take a long hard look at what Ines Sainz and Reggie Bush have revealed: that both leagues are in dire need to evolve.