It was 30 years ago that I walked into my first sports• locker room as a TV reporter.
It was 25 years ago that the NFL issued a policy that all team locker rooms would be open to credentialed journalists regardless of gender.
It was 20 years ago this week that one of the worst episodes of vulgar behavior toward a female sports reporter occurred when several New Englad Patriots accosted reporter Lisa Olsen.
And it was just a few months ago that USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan told me, "Talking about whether women should go into sports locker rooms today is like discussing whether women should have the right to vote. That was settled decades ago."
And now come a few boorish idiots from the New York Jets who harassed Ines Sainz, a TV Azteca sports reporter. Is this really where we are in 2010? Yep! There are several sides to this issue, particularly:
• There is no excusing this as boys will be boys behavior. Sexual harassment and discrimination are illegal in the U.S. A sports locker room is not the players' private bedroom. It's a workplace environment.
• TV networks are muddling this issue by increasingly hiring gorgeous, voluptuous women for these jobs because they WANT sports fans (particularly men!) to watch them. They are not trained journalists but hybrids: part reporter, part entertainer.
• Plus, there's a multi-cultural piece to this. If you've ever watched the women newscasters on Univision or spent any times in Latin American countries, you're aware that women -- of all ages -- routinely dress much more provocatively than we do here. Ines Sainz was dressed for her job, which includes being a "hot babe," which is why she got the job over other female journalists.
It's a hot topic. Here's a radio interview I did this week with WJR Radio. http://www.wjr.net/Article.asp?id=1951686&spid=34612