New York Jets and Ines Sainz: When Did Blaming the Victim Become Allowed

Asher ChanceySenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2010

New York Jets and Ines Sainz: When Did Blaming the Victim Become Allowed

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The Justification: The New York Jets

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    For the Jets' part, the justification for the "both sides were in the wrong" solution appears to be that no one can doubt that the Jets players, by hooting and hollering–and apparently lobbing footballs towards Ines so that players could go near her to retrieve them–were in the wrong, and should not have behaved the way they did.

But . . .

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    Nevertheless, it appears as though members of the media–women included–have decided that Inez Sainz was also in the wrong.

The Justification: Ines

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    You see, it appears as though Ms. Sainz has a history of carrying herself in an "unprofessional manner."

The Justification: Ines

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    Apparently she has a "habit" of appearing on the sidelines dressed in attire more appropriate for a nightclub than for a sporting event.

The Justification: Ines

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    And there was an incident at last year's Super Bowl in which she allowed some Indianapolis Colts players to carry her on their shoulders?

The Justification: Ines

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    There was also a biceps measuring incident at the Super Bowl two years ago, in which she went around measuring players' biceps to see who had the biggest muscles.

The Justification: Ines

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    This incident involved–gasp–touching the players.

The Justification: Ines

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    So, naturally the response to this has been, "Well, sure, what the Jets did was wrong, but this was no Lisa Olson incident."

    Lisa Olson, of course, was a female reporter who was sexual harassed by the New England Patriots over a decade ago, which treatment paled in comparison to the treatment she received when she dared to complain about it.

    Vilified by many at the time, Olson has since become the patron saint of women in the locker room.

Ines is No Lisa Olson

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    But Ines is no Lisa Olson, says Jemele Hill, because she hasn't carried herself in the most professional manner.

Tell Us More

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    Says Hill,

    "I'm having a hard time feeling sympathetic for someone who at times carries herself in a manner that insults some women in this business."

What About Her Attire?

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    Apparently, her clothing doesn't meet with Hill's approval:

    "Then there's the matter of the attire she's worn on the job around professional football. A quick Google search turns up numerous images of Sainz standing on a football field in clothing that seems better suited for a nightclub."

And . . . ?

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    Hill adds, 

    "But isn't it fair, too, to wonder whether Sainz's flirty, fluffy reporting style might blur the lines for the players? I have a hard time believing the Jets would treat USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, a pioneer for female sports journalists, the way they allegedly treated Sainz."

Anybody Else?

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    Philadelphia's own Ashley Fox also chimes in as well.

    After paying lip service to the idea that what the Jets did couldn't be condoned under any circumstances, Fox drops the bomb:

    "But Sainz, a television "reporter" from Mexico's TV Azteca, is not without fault here. And frankly, she brought the Jets' behavior on herself."

Really? A Woman Said that?

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    Fox continues, lambasting Ines and her employer:

    "Sainz works for a Mexican television network that seems more than happy to promote her as a sex symbol and not a journalist. Google "Ines Sainz" and you can find Ines Sainz in bathing suits and provocative evening wear."


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    Fox was there during the incident where the Colts carried Ines on their shoulders, stating:

    "Google "Ines Sainz" and you'll also find a photograph of her sitting on the shoulders of two Indianapolis Colts players during Super Bowl media day. I remember seeing her there. There was a swarm of people around her, and they were all laughing and joking about this woman who was causing such a stir.

    For a real sports reporter, that's unconscionable. Word travels fast."

Anything Else?

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    Fox also took Ines to task for her attire:

    "Second of all, if you want to be treated like a professional, you have to dress like a professional. That means no super-short skirts like the one Sainz wore on the Today show on Tuesday. No cleavage-revealing blouses. No short-shorts.

    Personally, I've sworn off dresses and skirts, too."


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    Fox has some advice for a woman in the business:

    "Very important point: Don't flirt. Don't flip your hair. Don't tilt your head to the side. Don't lean in too closely. Don't touch a player's arm or his shoulder or his knee. You are there to get information, not to get a date."

Are We Coming to Any Points Here?

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    The interesting thing, though, and the thing that got my attention, was something Fox said towards the end of her column.

    She said:

    "Know your stuff. Work hard. Read exhaustively. Ask good questions. Don't make mistakes. You have to be twice as good as the men just to be in the game.

    Do all of that, and you'll still probably have a problem. It's the nature of the beast."

Wait, What?

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    Read that last part again. Take it in:

    "Do all of that, and you'll still probably have a problem. It's the nature of the beast."

That's Certainly Telling, Isn't it?

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    You see, after paying lip-service to "degrading behavior is wrong, period", Ashley Fox and Jemele Hill then argue that Sainz brought the Jets behavior on herself by, essentially, acting like a sex symbol.

. . .

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    And then they, Fox in particular, proceed to give a very public lecture to Ines about how to conduct herself in the sports world.

But . . . .

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    But if your conclusion, after your big lecture and your pointers, is that even if Ines Sainz does everything the way you think she should, she will still have problems because that is the nature of the beast . . . 

Then . . .

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     . . . Then how can you argue she brought the Jets behavior on herself?

I See Where You're Going With This.

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    If Ines Sainz were to take the advice of Ashley Fox on how to properly conduct herself on the sidelines and in the locker room, so as to not–as Fox herself argues–bring the harrassing conduct on herself, but then acting the very way Fox tells her to act will simply bring on problems anyway . . . . 

Zinger Time

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    Then why are we blaming Sainz for bringing on the Jets behavior and, for that matter, why should she behave any differently?

And . . . Zing.

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    If, in fact, such behavior is the nature of the beast and she's have problems even if she does everything Ashley Fox thinks she should do.

Finally . . .

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    And by the way, when did it become the rule that we blame the person wronged by the people who wronged her just because she behaved in a certain manner?

    When did it become the rule that an attractive woman who dresses in an attractive manner deserves no sympathy if she is harassed in the work place?

    When did we decide that innocent behavior is a justification for rude, crude, and harassing behavior?

. . . .

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    Frankly, I think accusing this woman of trying to exploit her sexuality for personal and professional gain, and then taking the "she had it coming" position when she is the victim of sexual harassment is shameful.

. . . .

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    And everyone involved should be ashamed.

. . . The End

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    I know I am.