Last Saturday, members of the AWSM board were alerted to reports online about an alleged incident between some members of the New York Jets and a credentialed female reporter during practice and in the locker room access period. Past president and VP/Development Joanne Gerstner became our point person on the issue, contacting the Jets and the NFL to request an inquiry into the situation.
While we are still awaiting the final report from the NFL on what happened between television reporter Ines Sainz and the Jets, AWSM has received more than a hundred media inquiries from around the world into the specific incident (and later the comments made by Washington Redskin Clinton Portis) along with requests for general information on women in the locker room.
We have been updating and educating the media via official statements on our website, reminding and reinforcing that equal access to the locker room is the law. We have also been debunking the myths that men are not allowed into women’s locker rooms and that women are not skilled and professional members of sports media. Our website has experienced record-breaking traffic, as both the media and public turned to our group to learn more about the issues.
Plans to hold an educational meeting with the New York Jets are still in the works, and we have received support from APSE and the Pro Football Writers Association.
AWSM sees this as a simple issue: Sainz was granted a media credential by the New York Jets. She was working in an official capacity for her employer, TV Azteca in Mexico. Once she was credentialed, she deserved not only equal access but also the right to a work environment free from harassment and hostility.
We will continue our work as an organization to ensure that all women in sports media are treated fairly, professionally and respectfully.
The past few days have served as an excellent reminder as to why AWSM is so relevant as a watchdog and advocate for women in sports media. AWSM is here to serve all women in sports media, and we will remain vigilant in our role as the leading advocate.
We especially would like to thank the AWSM membership for its support and help this week.