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NFL visits Jets to investigate treatment of female reporter

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Rex Ryan said Tuesday that the NFL was at the New York Jets' training facility to investigate the way a female television reporter was treated at a recent practice.

Meanwhile, Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis was flagged by the NFL for comments he made on a Washington radio station that it's almost certain that a female reporter "is going to want somebody" when she goes into an NFL locker room.

Bill Kostroun / Associated Press
TV Azteca's Ines Sainz reports from the sidelines during Monday night's Ravens-Jets game.

Ryan said that league representatives were speaking with specific players, and the coach also volunteered to talk with the NFL's investigators.

Ines Sainz, of Mexico's TV Azteca, said she was uncomfortable Saturday in the Jets' locker room, where a few players let loose with some "Whooo-weee!" catcalls as she waited with two male co-workers to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is of Mexican descent.

Earlier Saturday, assistant coach Dennis Thurman seemed to deliberately throw the ball to players who were near Sainz during a practice drill.

Addressing the NFL's investigation of the Jets' treatment of Sainz, Portis said Tuesday 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 in his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league condemns Portis' remarks.

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

Portis said he wasn't aware of the Sainz situation, but offered his opinion on what he considered to be a female reporter's perspective.

"You put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her," Portis said. "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 (bodies). ... 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."

Portis later issued an apology through the Redskins.

"I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize," Portis 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.

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.

Portis is known for his outspoken viewpoints, having riled teammates and coaches over the years when speaking his mind. He uncharacteristically stayed out of the spotlight through this year's training camp and preseason, and earlier in his radio appearance he talked about how much he was enjoying his new "low profile."

Sainz was at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night and had a seat in the press box for New York's 10-9 season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens. She wasn't seen in the Jets' locker room after the game.

"No. 1, we never want anyone around our team to be uncomfortable," Jets coach Rex Ryan said after the game. "We're cooperating with the NFL and we'll get down to it, so I don't really want to comment more than that on it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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