A huge shoutout to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Blog who demolishes all the myths and half-truths about what it's really like for a reporter in a sports locker room. This comes on the heels of alleged harassment of a female reporter by the New York Jets. Writes Steinberg:
To me, NFL locker rooms are not hyper-sexualized dens of flirtation in which women stare at packages and men stare at curves and everyone's just thinking about whom to bed. Post-game locker rooms are about sweaty and dirty jerseys, open wounds, back hair, man-boobs, the smell of soiled laundry, jostling reporters with microphones and tape recorders, platters of orange slices, Mike Wise asking what his column should be about and Sonny and Sam in their full suits hanging out with Larry Michael as they interview Mike Shanahan. These scenes are about as sexy as the 80-and-over South Florida Shuffleboard Championships.
Steinberg's column is a useful antidote to those who claim that female reporters (and, by inference, gay reporters) can't do their jobs because they'll be distracted by the fleshfest before them. Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins had to apologize after saying it was impossible for any woman not to take a peek when confronted with "53 packages."
Last Sunday, for example, Clinton Portis never even appeared in the public areas of the Redskins' locker room. No one saw his package. Not one reporter. His locker was already empty when we were allowed to enter. Unless Portis is speaking at the podium, he almost never appears in a public place after the game, naked or otherwise.
What I liked about Steinberg's piece is that it's reality-based and unlike the fantasy world many people imagine (see my choice of photo). For example, contrary to belief, men are allowed in female locker rooms. It's a must-read.