It's good to see Clinton Portis exercise his right of free speech regarding the incident last week involving a woman reporter and members of the New York Jets. But when the NFL finally schedules an educational and awareness session with Jets players and coaches, it should probably save a seat for the Washington Redskins running back.
Portis, a man who has seldom been known to make insightful comments, seemed to miss the news that the league doesn't condone mistreatment of reporters, regardless of sex, by players. And although Portis didn't know the details of what happened between Inez Sainz, a journalist for TV Azteca, and the Jets, he offered this perspective in an interview with a Washington radio station:
"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.'"
In response to Portis' statements, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: "The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive, and have no place in the NFL. We have contacted the Redskins and they will discuss the matter directly with Mr. Portis."
Not surprisingly, Portis – undoubtedly at the insistence of his employers – offered an apology soon after the interview, saying, "I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize. 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 & support the team on these issues."
Jets owner Woody Johnson has already called Sainz to apologize for his players' behavior, which supposedly included catcalls in the locker room after practice. A coach reportedly also threw footballs in her direction so that players could get near her.
The league is investigating, and team lawyers interviewed a number of players Tuesday, presumably in case Sainz consider a sexual harassment complaint. In a statement, the Jets said they would work with league officials in order to "take any appropriate steps necessary to maintain a respectful environment for the media."
To their credit, the Redskins took prompt action with Portis. One can only hope he got the message.
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