Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clinton Portis Has a Busy, Wordy Tuesday

Earlier today, Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis made an appearance on DC Radio 106.7 – The Fan. The interview was tame, as usual, until Portis was asked to weigh in on the situation surrounding the New York Jets and female reporter Ines Sainz.

After being briefed on the situation, Portis responded:

“You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions 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 gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman. For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can't interact and you can't be involved with athletes, you can't talk to these guys, you can't interact with these guys. And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she's gonna want somebody. I don't know what kind of woman won't, if you get to go and look at 53 men's packages. And you're just sitting here, saying 'Oh, none of this is attractive to me.' I know you're doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I'm gonna cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I'm sure they do the same thing.”

Within minutes in this media-dominated planet, Twitter, Facebook, Google were all blowing up with responses towards Clinton Portis’ comments. Supporters and critics appearing in droves to weigh in with their own thoughts on what Portis had just said.

Shortly after the NFL got wind of the comments and had surely read and heard the transcript, the following statement was released:

“The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive, and have no place in the NFL. We have contacted the Redskins and they will discuss the matter directly with Mr. Portis.”

Within moments of the NFL’s official statement, the Redskins and Portis released statements of their own. Portis released his statement first:

“I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize. 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 & support the team on these issues.”

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie followed up:

“The Washington Redskins have a clear & unambiguous policy about being professional on these issues and we will take the necessary steps to remind everyone about it.”

Feelings for Clinton Portis aside, I think he raised a few solid points in his initial statement, bold and arrogant as they may be. Professional athletes are in a comfort level in their locker rooms, being surrounded by nearly 100 males in teammates, front office members, coaches, assistants, and members of the media. Ines Sainz is far from unattractive, and while the way she was reportedly treated was unprofessional, it stands in stone that male instincts did play a role in this situation.

I do find that Portis was wrong to suggest that Ines Sainz had to be attracted to at least one player, but his arrogance also helps explain what the situation was all about – we’re talking world-class professional athletes, the top of the male world in physical prowess, and naturally, one of them has a very high chance of attracting Ines Sainz. However, if the reports are true, Ines Sainz was not flirting with or playing along with the players of the New York Jets, she was there to do her job, and they were not there to do theirs.

I think Clinton Portis (who as we mentioned was not aware of the situation prior to this show) really was trying to be entertaining. However, as we’ve seen time and again (even with Clinton Portis), the NFL has drawn a very fine line between being entertaining and professional. The NFL feels that Clinton Portis shed the professional side of his representation.

It’s also worth noting that Clinton Portis nor any of the current Washington Redskins have been involved in a situation similar to what the Jets have put Ines Sainz through; and it’s widely known that the Redskins are covered by several female reporters.

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