After Jenn Sterger and Ines Sainz, Time To Ban Women From Locker Rooms?

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IOctober 9, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Anthony Hargrove #69 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates in the locker room after they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

There's been a lot of talk about women and how much access they should be granted in the locker room, regardless of sport.

Ines Sainz filed a complaint because New York Jets players were apparently whistling at her. While I'm not defending anything that might have been done or said in that locker room, I'm not sure what she was wearing could exactly be called "professional."

Before we get to the meat of the issue, let me stay on Sainz for a minute and why she might be the one female the ruins it for the others that do it the right way and are respected in the media industry.

Most of the women I've seen cover different teams have dressed appropriately and have carried themselves the same way.

I know that I need to tread lightly when it comes to this topic so I'll try to do that while making my point.

For those of you who have had a chance to be in a professional locker room, there's a feeling you get once inside that feels different than any other place you've been before. You know the feeling as soon as you walk in the room.

I've been in said situation and I've felt that same feeling. I've seen the way the media people carry themselves and I've seen the way the select few female reporters carried themselves.

Confident, professional, and not attracting attention toward themselves.

Then you have someone like Sainz. While I'm not certain that she's ever been in this kind of atmosphere before, she had to know that how she was dressed was going to attract attention to herself.

The job of a reporter, writer, or every day media member is to talk to the players after a game and get the quotes they need to be able to put together a report or a story at the end of the night.

When they're asking players questions, there are times where said players aren't going to be wearing much of anything.

There are some fans who would scream at the top of their lungs that women shouldn't be allowed because the male players are, for the most part, naked after showering and dressing to either face the media in the media room or leave for the night.

To cover this part of it, it should be said that the aforementioned male players don't have to be "naked" when the media enters the room. They know exactly when the locker rooms are open and they know exactly how this works. So does the media.

To go another direction with it, you should know that men are allowed in WNBA locker rooms. Should we change that as well? Have any stories come out that the men, or the female players, have carried themselves with nothing less than respect?

Banning women from the men's locker room and keeping the men's access to the female locker rooms would bring down a cry from every women's group in the entire United States that would make the outrage over Tiger Woods and Brett Favre seem trivial.

I was told a story by a media friend of mine here in the Dallas area. He and another media gentlemen brought a new female media member into the Cowboy locker room. The moment she caught sight of a "naked player," she let out a scream, at which point she was escorted out of the locker room never to darken the doors again.

That would be the perfect example of not handing yourself professionally. If you're entering a male locker room, you should pretty much know what you're about to see. If you don't want to see it, don't go to the locker room. It's really that simple.

This same friend said the perfect phrase and called the locker room exactly what it is, "their office." He couldn't have been more right.

On the flip side of the coin, are these players more likely to try and expose themselves on purpose just to see if they get a reaction from some female media members? There might be a few.

Let's be honest. There are some NFL, NBA, or Major League Baseball players who are going to try and make the female media members uncomfortable. Some of them work like that, as unfortunate as it may be. We can debate that all we want, but it's the truth.

While I'm not saying that the only women they try to make uncomfortable are ones that look like Sainz and sideline reporter Jenn Sterger, What I am saying, however, is drawing attention to yourself makes you that much more susceptible to that kind of behavior from professional athletes.

But for every two that may not carry themselves professionally, there are 10 to 15 that do. Should those 10 to 15, not to mention every other female reporter, be kicked out of locker rooms for good because of the actions of two?

There are a lot more women that do the job the right way than ones that don't take it all that seriously or don't know what they're doing.

Teams have taken credentials away from those that don't know how to handle themselves or can't do the job professionally. If it's going to be handled at all, it needs to be handled exactly like that.

Don't punish those that do it right, but it away from those who can't.

The New York Jets and their players didn't handle themselves professionally and needed to do more than just apologize. But if this really is an isolated incident, how long before we hear about another one?

I know the arguments that will come from both sides on this and while I understand where they'll be coming from and why, the arguments shouldn't just be because they're women and the players are, sometimes, naked. There's more to this debate than just that.

This is a debate that will rage on for years to come but don't expect anything to come of it. Women are going to continue to be given access to the locker rooms and there isn't anything that's going to change that until there's an incident so heinous that the respect sport won't have a choice but to make a decision on the matter.

Until then, there's no reason to ban women from doing the job they were paid to do. If they couldn't handle themselves in that kind of a situation, their respective networks wouldn't have given them the assignment of covering a professional team in a male sport.

It's not out of hand and I don't foresee it going that way. Until it does, there's reason to change something that really isn't broken.

As the famous phrase says so well. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Unless every male sports wants a huge fight on their hands.