NFL reminds clubs of media policy
AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL sent a memo Tuesday reminding all 32 teams of its equal access and conduct policy toward the media following a TV Azteca reporter’s comments that the Jets made her uncomfortable in their locker room last weekend.
“Women are a common part of the sports media,” the memo said, and included the policy. “By law, women must be granted the same rights to perform their jobs as men. Please remember that women reporters are professionals and should be treated as such. “
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello also sent an email to the Association of Women in Sports Media restating league policy.
Reporter Ines Sainz, who works for the Mexican network, said she was uncomfortable Saturday in the Jets’ locker room, where a few players made catcalls as she waited with two male co-workers to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is of Mexican descent. An assistant coach also seemed to deliberately throw footballs to players near where Sainz was standing on the sideline during practice.
The NFL also reacted Tuesday when Clinton Portis, the outspoken running back for the Washington Redskins, said in his weekly appearance on a radio: “I think you put women reporters in the locker room in position to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room. I think men are going to tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman.”
Aiello said the comments were “clearly inappropriate, offensive, and have no place in the NFL.”
Then the Redskins issued a statement by Portis, who said he was “wrong to make the comments” and that he respects the job reporters do.
The Redskins said they “will take the necessary steps” to remind players about acting in a professional manner.
“I didn’t address it with the team, but I did talk to Clinton,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday. “I think everybody read Clinton’s apology, and my conversation with him is private, but I think he said what he needed to say.”
League policy further states that women reporters are “assigned to cover NFL teams for the same reasons as their male counterparts – because they are professional reporters with an interest in sports. When female reporters are in your locker room, they are there in a professional capacity.”
AWSM said it was in contact with the NFL about Portis’ remarks and appreciated the league’s swift response.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said league representatives spoke to specific players on Tuesday as part of its investigation into what happened. He also volunteered to talk to the NFL.
AP Sports Writers Dennis Waszak Jr., in Florham Park, N.J., and Joseph White in Ashburn, Va., contributed to this story.