In a perfect world, Sainz should be allowed to perform whatever interviews she has been assigned and go home afterward, just like any other sports reporter. In that world, no bozo would toss footballs at her while she's interviewing Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez. And no one would make catcalls or wolf whistles when she showed up in the locker room, no matter how high her heels. In a perfect world, the people around her would understand that, just as players wear protective padding as part of their job, she's in her uniform. Even if it is a slinky dress or whatever.
The reality, though, is that Sainz is Maxim-magazine-attractive, and she was on a field with Jets players who apparently were so taken by her that they resorted to juvenile antics. You expect people in their position to know the rules and to treat each other as professionals, even if one of those professions might necessitate flirty banter under the guise of asking a legitimate question. (In 2008, she donned a wedding dress and proposed on-air to Tom Brady.)
Catcalls and players' making fools of themselves over her are hazards of the workplace. She probably causes a similar commotion when she goes to the grocery store. If other reporters in the locker room that day hadn't noticed and reported it to Jets management, Sainz probably would have chalked it up to another day in the life of the sexiest TV reporter in Mexico, as she calls herself.
After people started talking sexual harassment and others started running shots of Sainz in those jeans, the incident morphed into a big hullabaloo with the National Football League investigating. And which, unfortunately, tarnished by association the credibility of serious female sports reporters who got their credentials in journalism school rather than at a beauty pageant.
It does serve as a reminder, though, that in the age of infotainment, not everyone with a microphone is a serious journalist, and despite what Washington Redskin Clinton Portis suggested yesterday, not every female reporter is out to nab herself a player. He has since apologized for saying on D.C. radio that, "You put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her" and "somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna wanna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages."
The Association for Women in Sports Media is monitoring Sainz's situation, which is galling when you consider all the serious journalists who created and built the organization to ensure that they get a fair shot.
Sainz surely will continue her round of media interviews. All this attention isn't going to hurt her any. I wouldn't be surprised if a producer for "Dancing with the Stars" hasn't already tracked her down.
Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. My blog: http://go.philly.com/heyjen.