The case of Ines Sainz' dignity versus the New York Jets is a tricky one. If you haven't heard the story yet, Sainz was at Jets' practice last week to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez for TV Azteca when allegedly several of the Jets players crossed the line of appropriateness.
The NFL then launched an investigation into the incident which resulted in the Jets' ownership issuing an apology, the league clearly restating its rules of engagement when it comes to interacting with the media, and Rex Ryan eating a 36-ounce steak (although to be fair, he could have done that for any number of reasons, or no reason at all).
It's a tough topic for a male counterpart in the media, like myself, to comment about because (a) I am not a woman, (b) I wasn't there when the alleged lewd behavior transpired, and (c) Sainz' brand is part media, part sex symbol. I don't bring up that last bullet point to justify the Jets' behavior only to say that the line is inherently a tad more blurred with Sainz than, say, Shelley Smith of ESPN.
When you have these tough, almost "no win" issues to tackle, you're thankful when a voice of reason, a beacon of clarity rises from the dense fog of topical confusion.
Enter Clinton Portis.
You all remember Clinton Portis, but in case you don't, let's Troy McClure this thing...
"Hi! I'm Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis! You may remember me from such films as 'Unfunny Dolemite Jenkins'...
....and 'Who Doesn't Own A Dog Fighting Ring?'....
When I'm not busy rushing for under two yards a carry for the Redskins, I am setting media relations back six decades by merely opening my mouth and speaking for 28 seconds!"
What do I mean by that last part? Well, if you haven't heard the story, Portis was making his (last?) weekly appearance on The Mike Wise Show in Washington D.C. discussing the Cowboys game with the hosts when they made the mistake (if you're Portis, the NFL or a woman) / brilliant move (if you are anybody else) of asking for his opinion on the Sainz situation.
In an apparent attempt to top his 90-second infomercial for dog fighting, Portis dropped this beauty:
"You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, 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. For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can't interact and you can't be involved with athletes, you can't talk to these guys, you can't interact with these guys.
"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."
Okay, where to begin -- first, my favorite part of this diatribe (other than his actual use of the word "packages" on the radio, which could only be topped if Portis actually came out of the closet on the air and said he was in a relationship with Albert Haynesworth) was the whole "Hell, a woman is in there with 53 athletes, she's gotta want someone" vibe to his rant, like an NFL locker room is really just a clandestine meat-market version of the Karate Kid scene where Myagi points at the row of classic cars and asks Daniel-San to "choose."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has already issued a predictably appalled statement in response to Portis' comments (tweeted by The New York Times' Judy Battista):
"The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive and and have no place in the NFL. We have contacted the Redskins & they will discuss the matter directly w/Mr. Portis."
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Damn, NFL. Soooo sanctimonious. This wouldn't be happening if the XFL were still around. Somewhere Vince McMahon just threw a glass of cognac at his computer screen and thought to himself "Portis is right! If I had just put beer tubs, shot bars, pole dancers, and DJ's in the locker rooms, we might have lasted one more season." (And then he fired three people just to wash the bad taste out of his mouth.)
As for Portis, I honestly long for the day when the running back is no longer subjected to the modified gag order that the NFL will inevitably put on him after this latest episode. I think I speak for most of society (except maybe dogs...and women...okay, and anyone not in talk radio) when I say that we need more Clinton Portis.
Can someone find Portis and ask what he thinks about Chris Rainey texting "time to die" to his girlfriend? I'm guessing we'll get something along the lines of "Well, we all got to go sometime, ya know what I'm sayin'?"
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.