Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, known for his outspoken viewpoints, had plenty to say on the radio Tuesday about women reporters in NFL locker rooms.
The league swiftly condemned his comments as inappropriate and offensive, and Portis later issued an apology through the Redskins.
Addressing the NFL’s investigation of the New York Jets’ treatment of TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz, Portis said that both sides have wandering eyes when the sexes are mixed in such a setting.
“I think you put women reporters in the locker room in position 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 going to tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman,” Portis said in his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan.
The Jets are being investigated by the NFL after a few players made catcalls directed at Sainz on Saturday while she was waiting to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. Also, an assistant coach seemed to deliberately throw the ball to players who were near Sainz during a practice drill.
Portis said he wasn’t aware of what went on with Sainz, but he offered his opinion on what he considered to be a female reporter’s perspective.
“You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s going to want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s [bodies],” Portis said. “I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m going to cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league quickly addressed the player’s remarks with the Redskins.
“The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive, and have no place in the NFL,” he said in an e-mail. “We have contacted the Redskins and they will discuss the matter directly with Mr. Portis.”
A few hours later, the Redskins issued a statement from Portis.
“I was wrong to make the comments I did, and I apologize,” the statement said. “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 and support the team on these issues.”
Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie also issued a statement, saying the Redskins “have a clear and unambiguous policy about being professional on these issues.”
“We will take the necessary steps to remind everyone about it,” Wyllie said. He did not say what those steps would be.
The Association for Women in Sports Media said it has been in contact with the NFL about Portis’ remarks and appreciates the league’s swift response. The AWSM also released a statement detailing the history of the legal battle for equal access to locker rooms.
“AWSM continues to monitor issues regarding locker-room access and is committed to helping create and maintain a work environment that is free of harassment and hostility,” the statement said.
In the past Portis has riled teammates and coaches when speaking his mind. He uncharacteristically stayed out of the spotlight through this year’s training camp and preseason. Recently, he has been talking about how much he was enjoying his new low profile.
“I realize you can’t satisfy people,” Portis said last week. “And there’s no reason to continue to try, no matter what you do. If I talk to the media, the headline’s going to be I bash somebody I shouldn’t bash. If I don’t talk to the media, I’m a jerk for not speaking, so you can’t satisfy people.”