Thursday, September 16, 2010

Commissioner of Sports on Jets Locker Room Controversy

Recently a huge national story was made out of a complete non-story (I know, be more specific).  In this case, it was a female reporter apparently feeling harrassed by athletes and coaches in the Jets' locker room.  Never mind that this reporter was scantilly clad and markets herself as the sexiest woman in sports, so it is surprising that she is allegedly upset by getting the exact reaction she is aiming for.  The issue for me is that a female reporter was in the locker room in the first place.

A few years ago, this debate reached its peak and female reporters were allowed to work in men's locker rooms despite all of the naked and half-naked men there.  The thinking was that not allowing them in the locker room would create an unfair advantage for their male-reporter-competition.  There is some logic to that.  However, even as a news and sports producer for CBS, I think I would have been arrested had I entered the women's locker room at a WNBA game, tennis tournament, or other women's event.  Rightfully so!

So we shouldn't have reporters in the opposite sex's locker rooms, but we have to allow reporters equal access to the athletes and coaches.  Hmm.  If only there was a room where the press could conduct interviews after a sporting event.  An interview room, perhaps.  What's that?  There are interview rooms in basically every professional stadium in the world and the athletes and coaches go there after leaving the locker room every time anyway?

Well then, how about we just don't allow the press into locker rooms at all.  Allow the players to celebrate or punch holes in the walls in private.  Allow in-fighting and coaches' talks in private.  Allow them time to take care of their personal hygiene, physical therapy, and dressing in private.  Then interview them in the interview room.

Click here for previous issues tackled by the Commissioner of Sports.

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