A Mexican female TV reporter was subjected to catcalls and verbal harassment in the New York Jets locker room where she went to do an interview over the weekend.
And rightly so on Monday night Jets owner Woody Johnson apologized to Inés Sainz for harassment by team members and a coach, according an article in the New York Daily News.
I thought the days of women journalists facing sexual harassment in locker rooms were over. Sadly, it isn't so.
Sainz shouldn't be subjected to hooting and hollering or be called a bonita señ-
orita while she is trying to do her job.
The good news is that other journalists stood up in her defense.
What disturbs me though is how some have commented on or even questioned her appearance.
Other journalists reported she wore jeans and a white blouse to Saturday's game. On Monday, they reported she wore a short black dress and high heels. The New York Post has a photo gallery dedicated to Sainz.
Does it matter what she is wearing? The fact that other reporters report on that just perpetuates the sexism.
It's hard not to notice that she is beautiful. Sainz is a former beauty pageant contestant and you can find lots of pictures of her in bikinis and ball gowns on the Internet and even on her own Twitter page.
She may be more fashionable than some of her American counterparts but she also is reporting for TV Azteca in Mexico.
Just turn on the television in Mexico and you'll see that most of the female journalists and television hosts express their femininity in their dress. You could say this is a cultural difference.
So if Sainz decided to wear a black mini dress it is her right to do so. And she shouldn't be subjected to harassment because she wears pretty clothes or high heels.
Now Sainz at first didn't want to make a big deal out of this. She wrote a column about the incident published Tuesday in the Mexican newspaper El Universal. She said that while the catcalls were happening she was interviewing quarterback Mark Sanchez.
She told a reporter afterwards that "I was capable of managing a situation like this and that I preferred to pretend that nothing was happening."
She could be used to these types of catcalls from living in Mexico.
Having lived in Mexico myself I can tell you that women are subject to catcalls walking down the street almost every day. I can't tell you how many times I've heard guapa, mamacita, chula, all variations on the word for pretty lady.
Some women there accept this machismo. Personally it upset me and I often responded with a hand signal. You can imagine what I'm talking about.
On Monday night, Sainz told reporters, "It mustn't happen again."
She covered the game from the press box and didn't go back into the locker room. I hope this incident won't keep her away from the locker room indefinitely.
There is no place for machismo in the locker room of a professional sports team.
For years, women journalists fought to get into the locker room to interview players and be treated as equals.
Lesley Visser, Lisa Olson, Melissa Ludtke, Christine Brennan and Michele Himmelberg are some of the pioneers who waged his battle over 30 years ago. Jenni Carlson, the chair of the board of the Association for Women in Sports Media and a sports columnist at The Oklahoman, wrote an excellent column about this on CNN today.
Sainz in her column also thanked the women journalists who have shown her support and she accepted the Jets' apology. I translated some of her comments into English.
"I hope that after this is over, what is redeemable will be the fact that moving forward women will be respected more in this difficult but magnificent profession," Sainz wrote.
I'm disturbed that women like Sainz still face harassment but encouraged that the Jets owner had the sense to apologize immediately and that the NFL is taking this seriously.
Lo siento is a good response. But I would prefer nunca más. Never again.