NFL Truths: Portis, Sainz and more

BY Jason Whitlock • September 16, 2010

Dear Jason:
Do you know how I can get in touch with Ines Sainz? I would be more than happy if she interviewed me inside a bathroom.
Big Ben

Your NFL Truths for Week 2:

10. Let me apologize to Clinton Portis for the cowardice of the NFL and the political correctness of my peers in the media. Portis, the Redskins running back, did not owe anyone an apology for his radio comments about the overblown Ines Sainz-Jets situation.

Portis is a football player, not an orator, broadcaster or politician. His remarks about the behavior and attitude of women and men in the locker room need to be digested in their proper context.

“You put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked,” Portis said on radio, “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 ...

“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.”

Let me translate what Portis said: Humans — men and women — are sexual creatures. You put us in an environment where there are a bunch of shirtless and/or naked people who meet America’s standard of beauty and harmless and crude flirtation is bound to happen.

His remarks were not controversial. They were common sense. He did not blast the professionalism of female reporters. He accused them of being human, no different from men. He did not defend the behavior of the New York Jets. He made comments that generalized the behavior of heterosexual men and women. He told his radio interviewers that he knew nothing of the Sainz-Jets controversy.

We wonder why athletes loathe us? We’re unfair. We’re dishonest.

We pretend that in the course of doing our jobs we never have sexual thoughts. That’s an absolute joke that defies human nature and contradicts what all of us have witnessed in our work environments.

Professionally dressed men and women notice and flirt with each other during the course of a workday inside sterile office environments. They’re not perverts. They’re human beings.

Portis did not demand or even insinuate that women should be banned from NFL locker rooms. He simply expressed an obvious fact: The locker-room environment creates mutual sexual tension between some athletes and some female reporters.

9. Let me apologize to Ines Sainz for the way American female journalists (and the men who fear them) are exploiting her situation.

I’m reluctant to call Sainz a victim in all of this because she’s likely going to land a role on "Dancing With The Stars" in the aftermath, but she is a victim of America’s superiority complex. Angry American female sports writers/broadcasters are going to show this poor, confused Mexican woman how to handle the New York Jets.

USA Today’s Christine Brennan, a journalist I greatly respect, is calling for Roger Goodell to fine and suspend members of the Jets.

Their crimes? They intentionally ran pass plays in Sainz’s direction. When she entered the locker room, a few players made catcalls and hooted. Kris Jenkins told a reporter, “This is our locker room.”

The Jets — from Rex Ryan on down — need to be reprimanded by owner Woody Johnson. The league took appropriate action reminding players of league-wide policies regarding women in the locker room.

That’s enough ... for now.

There are consequences for how we choose to do our jobs. I’ve chosen to be an outspoken, in-your-face, irreverent columnist. From time to time, I put clown suits on athletes, coaches and executives. They rarely send me Christmas cards or invite me for drinks.

Inside locker rooms, I’ve been threatened and cussed at by Marcus Allen, Keyshawn Johnson, Andre Rison and countless others. Wayne Simmons, a linebacker for the Chiefs in the late 1990s, tried to jump me inside Diamond Joe’s gentlemen’s club.

It’s the life I chose. I’m not special.

Ines Sainz and her television network chose to position her as the “hottest sports reporter in Mexico.” She chooses to flaunt her cleavage and other ass-sets. She chooses to dress like she’s hitting a singles bar.

Is she asking to be sexually harassed? No. She’s demanding that men and women take notice of her body. The Jets obliged, inappropriately.

Athletes occasionally respond inappropriately to my columns. It’s an inevitable consequence of the decision I’ve made. I have to allow guys to blow off steam. One day, especially now that I’m middle-aged, I might get my ass whipped. As long as there is no permanent damage, I’ll roll with it and keep it moving. It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve lost fights before.

Ines Sainz knows what she’s doing. She knows the consequences of her decision. She’s handled her situation like a grown-ass, empowered woman. She’s appreciative that Woody Johnson apologized and intervened. She’s not pretending she’s Lisa Olson, a serious journalist who was severely traumatized and “assaulted” by Zeke Mowatt.

I’d suggest that Christine Brennan and Co. follow Sainz’s lead.

8. One last point on how ASC — American Superiority Complex — is driving the reaction to the Sainz-Jets controversy.

Brennan ripped Erin “Sideline Barbie” Andrews after she was stalked and videotaped by a perverted fan. Brennan demanded that Sideline Barbie rely on her talents and brains rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Sideline Barbie is an American white woman who was truly victimized by a male pervert.

Sainz is a Mexican brown woman who was subjected to a few catcalls and overthrown passes.

Sainz dresses far more provocatively than Sideline Barbie. But Brennan only wants to hold the American woman responsible for taking control of her image.

Let me repeat. I’m a huge fan of Christine Brennan. She is a true journalist. Her voice is important. But she needs to take a step back and rethink her positions on all of these issues.

TV Azteca, Sainz’s employer, should be taking the most heat in this situation. It is blatantly promoting its female reporters as bimbos and sending them to Super Bowls and NFL locker rooms to play the role of groupie reporter.

Sainz and Sideline Barbie are doing their jobs the way their employers ask them to.

7. No team looked worse in victory than the Washington Redskins.

Wade Phillips’ Dallas DumBoys handed Mike Shanahan a season-opening victory. In a low-scoring, defensive affair, the DumBoys abandoned their running game for no reason. Marion Barber and Felix Jones split 16 carries and averaged a shade below 5 yards a tote. For some reason, overrated offensive coordinator Jason Garrett instructed Tony Romo to throw the ball 47 times. That’s the only reason the Redskins held Dallas to 7 points.

Washington’s defense was mediocre. The ‘Skins sacked Romo one time. They never mounted consistent pressure.

On offense, Donovan McNabb has two options: Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. Clinton Portis is washed up. Joey Galloway was washed up four years ago. The ‘Skins are counting on some 27-year-old first-year receiver, Anthony Armstrong.

It’s a bad team. The Redskins will finish closer to 1-16 than 8-8.

6. Four people are primarily responsible for the Cowboys’ end-of-half meltdown: Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, Tashard Choice and Tony Romo.

Romo isn’t receiving enough criticism for his role in the disaster. When he decided not to throw the Hail Mary, Romo should’ve fallen to the ground. Romo put Choice in a difficult spot. A QB is supposed to be the smart decision-maker. Choice got handed the ball and tried to make a play.

5. The NFL should not change the rule that denied Calvin Johnson a game-winning touchdown catch.

The rule is clear and has been enforced consistently for as long as I can remember. I don’t understand the controversy. The refs didn’t make up a new rule or misinterpret the rule. Johnson lost control of the football. End. Of. Story.

4. If you can find evidence on Jimmy Raye’s 29-year resume that he’s going to fix 49ers QB Alex Smith, I’d love to see it.

Raye, San Fran’s offensive coordinator, is not an innovator. He didn’t develop Kurt Warner or Brett Favre or anybody of any consequence at his previous stops. Raye’s most impressive accomplishment was calling repeated running plays for Eric Dickerson in 1983 and 1984.

His stints as offensive coordinator have usually been brief and highlighted by a head-coaching change. He’s not a coach killer, but his appearance as a play-caller generally means the head coach is on the hot seat and no one qualified wants to call the plays.

I mention all of this because Alex Smith criticized the 49ers coaching staff for failing to call plays in a timely manner after the team’s embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

3. The Colts won’t win 12 games this year and, by the end of the season, Jim Caldwell is really going to regret not going 16-0 last year.

The Colts strike me as a 10-6 or 9-7 team. Bob Sanders is done again. The Colts are going to have trouble defending the run. Unless Peyton Manning builds a two-score advantage, the opposition is going to stick with its running game and sideline Manning.

Indy ran the ball 10 times against the Texans. That’s a major strategic error. I like the Giants Sunday night and for the questions about Caldwell’s job security to begin Monday morning.

2. Now that Reggie Bush has handed back the Heisman Trophy, doesn’t college football seem a bit more pure today?

Maintaining the illusion of “amateur status” is important to the future of this country. Seeing Bush railroaded out of the Heisman makes me proud to be an American.

1. Gambling advice: Take the Browns minus-2.

Kansas City’s victory over the Chargers was a total fluke. Todd Haley and Scott Pioli refuse to showcase Jamaal Charles solely because Herm Edwards drafted him. KC’s front seven can’t pressure the quarterback. The rain and the sloppiness of Arrowhead Stadium’s grass stopped the Chargers. The Chiefs have no No. 1 receiver or quarterback.

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