NBA locker rooms are more easily managed than NFL
Did anyone else have to check their calender last week? No, not for the day or the date; but the year.
It's 2010, right?But why all of a sudden did it feel more like 210 AD when news broke that a female television reporter was harassed inside the New York Jets training facility last week?
Just wondering ... if the days of the Barbarians have come and gone, why do we still have this kind of barbaric behavior?
If you didn't hear about it, here are the lowlights: Reporter Ines Sainz, working for Mexican Azteca TV, was harassed by Jets coaches and players while she waited to conduct an interview with quarterback Mark Sanchez.
We're not talking about a meeting of the Algonquin Round Table here. Coaches reportedly threw footballs in Sainz's direction and a few players made some really clever comments about body parts (hers and theirs).
Look, I'm aware of what Ms. Sainz looks like, and that she has been billed as Mexico's sexiest reporter, or something to that effect. I've also heard the response from the sports pundits who believe Sainz's racy outfit somehow contributed to the situation.
And I've read the comments of several players from around the league who said a woman in the locker room is essentially only after one thing, and it's not an interview (wink, wink).
Those may be popular opinions in some areas, but they're hardly enlightened.
Really? You're going with the "She was asking for it" response? That's the justification?
Boys will be boys? That's where we're setting the bar?
Frankly, those arguments aren't even worth exploring. If expecting a little civility is too much to ask, well, we've got bigger issues than just women in the locker room.
So, this is where I stop debating and start reporting. See, as the Standard-Examiner's Utah Jazz beat writer, I naturally began to wonder if fans were curious about how the Jazz deal with female reporters in the locker room.
The truth of it is, it's not much of an issue. At least I've never seen it become one. And there are several reasons for this.
First of all, there are fewer players on an NBA roster than there are on an NFL or Major League Baseball team. Consequently, NBA locker rooms are more easily managed. What's more, the NBA has made an effort to ensure good locker room behavior while media is around. Players are told to keep covered up and for the most part they comply.
Secondly, the Jazz seem to go above and beyond when it comes to requiring their guys to act professional in front of media members, regardless of gender. This, I believe, comes from not only the Miller family, but from the coaching staff as well.
Like him or not, Jerry Sloan runs a tight ship and he simply wouldn't put up with his players sexually harassing a female reporter. I suppose that's one of the added benefits of having the same coach for 20-plus seasons; his expectations are never unclear.
Finally, there is the local media itself. This is Utah, not New York or Chicago; Philadelphia or L.A. It's a soft market, as they say. There just isn't a lot of sensationalism going on like there is in bigger markets. For the most part, nobody is trying to make a name for himself or herself.
In other words, there isn't an Ines Sainz in the bunch.
There are female reporters in this market and after any Jazz game a few of them can been seen in the locker room, maintaining complete professionalism.
I've never seen anyone with wandering eyes. In fact, most reporters I know -- both male and female -- can't wait to get out of there.
The locker room is the players' domain, not the media's. We know when we go in we're on their turf and sometimes it gets uncomfortable for both parties.
But thankfully, there always seems to be an air of professionalism around the Jazz's facilities, and that makes it easier for everyone.
After all, it's 2010, not the Dark Ages.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at (801) 625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He Tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247