Jets owner apologizes to TV reporter
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson apologized to female TV reporter Ines Sainz while the NFL is investigating her complaints of taunting and mistreatment by Jets players.
Sainz said that Jets coach Rex Ryan, one of his assistants and some of the team's players allegedly pestered her with goofy, on-field antics and locker-room catcalls during and after a weekend practice at the Jets' New Jersey facility.
The NFL and team officials said on Sunday they were also investigating reports that some Jets team members made suggestive comments to Sainz, who calls herself "the hottest sports reporter in Mexico."
"I called her the minute I found out about it, and I finally spoke to her later on in the day," Johnson said, according to ESPN.com. "We take this very, very seriously, as you can imagine. We want all of our reporters, female or male, to be comfortable wherever they are, on the sideline, in the locker room or at a game. We have to make the working environment professional, representing the New York Jets well."
However, the correspondent is now saying her claims were being taken out of proportion. In an interview with Mexican TV station DeporTV Monday, Sainz said she never felt offended and that the whole situation was taken out of context.
"In my opinion, I never felt attacked, nor that they reacted grossly toward me," she said. "I arrived in the locker room, and there were comments and games. One of the other reporters came up to me and apologized for what was happening, but I thought (the players) were joking around."
Sainz wrote on her Twitter page Monday morning: "Thanks everyone for your support. I already spoke to the NFL, which will decide if there will or will not be consequences. I can say that at the time I didn't want to pay attention to what was happening but the rest of the media heard clearly and in solidarity have denounced what happened, hoping that there is always a respectful climate."
During the portion of practice open to the media, Ryan and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman purposely overthrew passes so they would land near Sainz, she said.
Later, during a locker-room availability, several players allegedly hooted and hollered when Sainz walked in. She later tweeted she was "dying of embarrassment."
Team executives said in a statement: "The New York Jets believe that reporters have a job to do, and it is our obligation to provide them with proper and professional access.
"Woody Johnson spoke with Ines Sainz of TV Azteca today to discuss the time she spent covering the team yesterday. He stressed to Ines that he expects all members of the Jets organization to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times."
The Association for Women in Sports Media said in a statement Sunday night that both the NFL and the Jets were ''responsive to our concerns'' and that it would continue to monitor the situation.
''We are awaiting the results of the investigation,'' the statement read, ''and further action from the NFL and Jets.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.