*NFL running back Clinton Portis has single-handedly dragged his Washington Redskins into the sexual harassment drama between the New York Jets and a female sports reporter.
Addressing the NFL’s investigation of the Jets’ treatment of TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz, Portis said that both sides have wandering eyes when the sexes are mixed in such a setting.
“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,” Portis said
Portis said he wasn’t aware of what went on with Sainz, but he offered his opinion on what he considered to be a female reporter’s perspective.
“You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s going to want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages,” Portis said. “I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m going to cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.”
The league was quick to condemn Portis’ comments as inappropriate and offensive, and Portis later issued an apology through the Redskins.
“I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize,” the statement said. “I respect the job that all reporters do. It is a tough job and we all have to work and act in a professional manner. I understand and support the team on these issues.”
Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie also issued a statement, saying the Redskins “have a clear and unambiguous policy about being professional on these issues.” “We will take the necessary steps to remind everyone about it,” Wyllie said. He did not say what those steps would be.
Meanwhile, the Jets are being investigated by the NFL after a few players made catcalls directed at Sainz on Saturday while she was waiting to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. Also, an assistant coach seemed to deliberately throw the ball to players who were near Sainz during a practice drill.
The Association for Women in Sports Media said it has been in contact with the NFL about Portis’ remarks and appreciates the league’s swift response. The AWSM also released a statement detailing the history of the legal battle for equal access to locker rooms.
“AWSM continues to monitor issues regarding locker-room access and is committed to helping create and maintain a work environment that is free of harassment and hostility,” the statement said.