Time to send the journalists out of men’s locker rooms

by jovan1984

andrew whitworth-Bengals-Tampa-45

This is my office space. I shouldn’t have to change in it and be in front of people I don’t know or really don’t have any purpose for being near me other than the fact they are interviewing other people. If I was a woman, this would be a completely different subject, and it would be a complete firestorm. We can’t always just serve women and everyone else. Men deserve a right, too. We have rights. We have privacy. We deserve all the things we want as well. As a man, I think it’s right the policy is changed.

We completely concur with you, Andrew Whitworth.

And thus, what happened on October 18 should be a national scandal.

Dan Le Batard, who many regard as the worst Odds! player on Pardon the Interruption, said correctly that the policy needs to be scrapped.

And not just for the NFL, either. They also need to get rid of the locker room policies in the NBA and MLB.

The other four major US sports – NASCAR, IndyCar, the NHL and the PGA, thankfully, do not allow women journalists in men’s locker rooms. In fact, all media have a designated area in the IndyCar and NHL, and that’s especially true in the two more conservative sports, the PGA and NASCAR. Another possible reason for the designated media areas is the presence of female athletes in all of these sports (Pippa Mann in IndyCar and Danica Patrick in NSCS), except the NHL.

So, if NASCAR and the NHL can successfully have a designated areas for journalists to interview the likes of Kyle Busch and the Boston Bruins, then why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks can’t the NFL, NBA and MLB can’t do the same?

And don’t give the excuse that the well-respected Christine Brennan and other women journalists would be upset if all media were no longer allowed in the men’s locker rooms.

Imagine if instead of the NFL, these were players for the IWFL, an actual professional women’s football league, and they were playing for the Carolina Phoenix (a team from Durham). They had just finished defeating the New York Sharks at Memorial Stadium in Durham County. Then, while cameras were rolling, male journalists were interviewing one player while behind her, other players’ breasts, vaginas and buttocks – none of which are remotely sexual in any way, form or fashion – were shown on WRAL-DT and then shown to millions and millions of people in viral videos.

This scenario I described in the previous paragraph is precisely why I cannot in good faith or conscience support having journalists of the opposite gender in the locker rooms in any sport – gender notwithstanding.

Which means that I cannot, under any circumstances, support having women in the men’s locker rooms. The locker rooms are more than likely the only private areas male athletes will get during their season, and it should be their private areas.

It’s why I agree with everything Cincy Jungle posted in these six paragraphs (the last of which is truncated), as I can’t say any of that any better:

Journalists need this access for quotes/raw emotion, etc.

Really? When was the last time an article was great because of that amazing locker room quote? I can’t remember one. Usually those awkward interviews just result in stupid questions and equally numb answers. If you don’t believe me that locker room access is not needed, take a look at Cincy Jungle. Each month we have millions of eyeballs on our site devouring our content and we have zero writers/reporters in the Bengals’ locker room. The reporters fighting for locker room access offer not much more than an ego trip. It makes them feel special and they don’t want to give that up.

Access to the locker room is necessary in order to hit journalist deadlines.

What year is this? In the 1970’s, that may have been true. Today, with the internet and social media, that argument is irrelevant. Not to mention, with every person having a camera on their phone, allowing anyone other than players, coaches and team personnel in the locker room just defies common sense.

Who cares if this is a double standard, women face plenty of double standards.

I don’t disagree that women face plenty of double standards, but this is not a political issue – if you want to make it that, go somewhere else. Double standards exist for all races, genders, and professions. None are right and all should be fought against. However, the existence of one double standard does not make another double standard less wrong. Any such thinking is warped. Whitworth is right, this would have been a “firestorm” had it happened in a women’s locker room and men deserve privacy just as much as women. Anyone that says otherwise is lacking in the common sense department.

Let them wear towels.

Really? That’s your response. The locker room is the player’s office space – the media is the guest/invader. This is the title to a famous book dealing with women’s right of equal access to locker rooms, a movement that was relevant at the time, but not anymore. No media should be in the locker room, male or female. How about “let them wait,” as in let the media – men and women – wait in another room. Once the players are dressed, they can come to the reporters and do any interviews. Apparently something similar is done with players in UEFA and that league seems to be doing just fine. Since when should a journalist’s desire for access trump a player (or anyone’s) desire for privacy? The only thing that is relevant here is the privacy portion of the argument. Everyone deserves privacy, female OR male, professional athlete or working Joe, public figure or not, and the fans desire for a behind the scenes look should not include an encroachment of player privacy.

They are professional athletes, paid a lot of money, this comes with the territory.

No, this does not “come with the territory.” Everyone, regardless of their profession and income deserves privacy. There is absolutely no reason any media member needs to be in the locker room – male or female. The interview and quotes could be collected in a way that allows players to maintain their privacy. The difference of a “10-minute cooling off period” and waiting another 20 minutes is minimal at best. Any “raw emotion” the media is hoping to get is not going to dissipate in those additional 20 minutes.

As for the league, they come off as the money hungry hypocrites they have time and again proven themselves to be. If a player Tweets a locker room picture capturing nudity in the background, the player is fined. But the league owned network can air minutes worth of full nudity and in return offer a pathetic apology.

Emphasis mine, in bold. Double emphasis in bold underline.

I’ll start closest to the blockquote and go upward.

I agree with the Cincy Jungle, that being naked in front of women journalists absolutely does not come with the territory of being a male athlete.

In fact, being naked with cameras do not come with the territory of being a celebrity (under Wikipedia terms). The line of thinking so many women have about male athletes is precisely what led to Erin Andrews, a journalist who graduated with honors from the University of Florida, having her privacy violated eight years ago at a Marriott hotel (she is still doing a court battle with Marriott on that front). So, try again.

I also am in agreement with the Jungle with the ‘let them wear towels’ tripe. That’s utter nonsense and is still a blatant violation of the privacy rights of male athletes. That slogan wouldn’t even fly in the IWFL or WNBA even though technically, men are actually allowed media access to women’s locker rooms in the WNBA (the same way as women are in the NBA, per leagues’ rule) and due to the Ludtke ruling in 1978, no WNBA team can legally keep male journalists out of the women’s locker rooms (and any male journalist who are barred from entering can legally sue the WNBA). Therefore, it doesn’t fly in men’s sports leagues (high school, college or professional), either. As women journalists, they should allow all the men on the team to shower and put their clothes on first before coming to the locker rooms, with someone from the team giving/signaling the ok to allow media access when the team is ready – that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes on average.

Either that, or let women wear towels while male journalists interview them. No more special treatments due to the gender of the athletes.

I absolutely agree with the Jungle on double standards. Yes, women face far more double standards than men. That is still not an excuse for allowing women journalists to flagrantly violate male athletes’ privacy rights at will without consequences. This is common sense, and it all goes back to the Erin Andrews incident.

As for women journalists having a deadline to meet, I mostly agree with the Jungle here too. Unless your deadline is 5pm for a matinee, 8pm for a late afternoon event, midnight for an evening contest or 2:30 am for an event on the West Coast (all times EDT), you don’t have a legitimate gripe about deadlines and you simply want to violate male athletes’ privacy. So, try again.

And the final point nailed by the Jungle is about quotes. They nailed it about women journalists who want the quick access. It’s turned into nothing more than an ego power trip. If journalists are looking for quotes or raw emotions, 19 times out of 20 journalists can find all the that on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Cyber Dust or MySpace (did I just mention MySpace? I sure did!).

What happened to the Bengals five weeks ago is a scandal and it needs to be nationalized and internationalized.

Barring Congressional action to correct a Supreme Court ruling that should be been corrected by Washington long ago, the US men’s sports sanctioning bodies need to expressly prohibit any media from being in the men’s locker rooms.

Either that, or we all in society must forcefully demand and relentlessly pressure Women’s sports leagues like the WNBA, IWFL and NWSL to honor the Ludtke ruling by opening their locker rooms up for male journalists.

Huffington Post Sports

Cincy Jungle

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