Clinton Portis: “She’s going to want somebody”

September 14, 2010 | Drew Forrester

I wrote two separate blogs today on the Clinton Portis “incident” from Tuesday afternoon in which he made some questionable comments about female reporters in the locker room.

Here for your review is the story, in case you haven’t been caught up to speed.

I deleted both blogs before posting either one.

I don’t know a convenient or professional or truthful way to chronicle the truth about females in sports media and their access to locker rooms.  I don’t know a good way to write the truth about the fact that most women hired for TV sports these days are attractive (that’s a compliment to them) and that their boss hires them based partly (some would say: greatly — that’s your call) on “their look” because not only will men at home watch them, but athletes are often more inclined to deal with a pretty girl when push comes to shove.

You want the real truth? NO ONE should be allowed in the locker room of a professional sports team.  That would solve the whole issue.  Male reporters:  not allowed.  Female reporters:  not allowed.  Sports teams and leagues should figure out a way to guarantee every media member the same access.  But that access should NOT be made available in the locker rooms.

The locker room should belong to the players.  As it is now, it’s not the most comfortable place to be – for a media member – anyway.  From the moment you step in, you’re OCCASIONALLY surrounded with vulgarity, nudity, racial lingo, practical jokes and loud music.  It can resemble a fraternity house on steroids, minus the pot smoke, the Led Zeppelin poster, the strobe light and a Friday night bonfire.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Players who work together, live together, breathe together and fight together should have a place to walk around naked, call each other names, toss racial slurs at one another and play Jay-Z really loud.

But the fact remains that members of the press ARE allowed in the locker room, so perfect-world scenarios don’t exist in this case.  Females are subject to more scrutiny (by the players) than males for two reasons.  A) There are less of them in the locker room, so the few that are in there stand out more.  B) A lot of male athletes – particularly the single ones – find attractive females to be worthy of their attention, regardless of whether or not said female is “working”.

Portis wasn’t right today when he offered a broad brush generalization that female reporters who venture into a locker room filled with 50 or so naked (athletic) men will wind up “wanting somebody” because it’s as natural as Adam and Eve.

He was wrong to say that and was forced to apologize for it.

A great number of female media members are ultra-professional and conduct themselves with the utmost decorum.

Then again, it’s my experience that nearly every NFL player conducts himself with the same type of professionalism when dealing with the media. That’s what got lost in the Portis story today.

Mountain…made out of…a molehill.

It will give the AWSM (Association for Women in Sports Media) something to bellyache about for a while and it will keep Portis on his toes for the rest of the season whenever a microphone is stuck in front of his face.

But it won’t change one simple fact:  Women in a men’s locker room is a recipe for tension.  Men in a men’s locker room is a recipe for tension.

We should ALL stay out and give them their space.

That’s what I think, anyway.

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