Since I watched hockey as a kid, it was always this way. Industrial-size hampers, home to growing mounds of moist practice jerseys, sit on each side of the cramped chamber in its Syosset, New York, training facility. Players tear off equipment at wooden cubbies bearing their names and numbers, laughing about how Mel Gibson got ribbed at the Golden Globes. A collage on the walls above them shows newspaper headlines and media coverage of famous victories, ringing the small dressing room like a halo. The media circus surrounding professional sports is fed in part by this particularly odd sort of press access.
This Is Why Female Sportswriters Can Go in Men's Locker Rooms
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It is still , and eventually the women were able to get into the locker room to conduct the post-game interviews they had planned on, thanks to a very different year: A few years earlier, the National Hockey League had made headlines with the decision to allow female reporters to conduct locker-room interviews after the All-Star Game. Within a year, women had broken a couple of major sports stories. But not everyone was happy. In a preemptive move following the hockey decision, baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the MLB decided to formally oppose the admission of women into post-game locker rooms, even with some teams that would have preferred a more open policy, like the New York Yankees. When the Yankees made it to the playoffs in , Sports Illustrated assigned Melissa Ludtke to cover the series—but MLB told her that, as a woman, she could not report from inside the locker room.
The naked truth about locker room interviews
In light of the Ines Sainz controversy, NFL players are chiming in about whether "a woman's place is in the locker room. The Association for Women in Sports Media immediately had her back, calling for the league to look into the harassment claims, claims Sainz herself apparently didn't make but that were made on her behalf. And then there's the issue of the female reporter wearing what I would wear to a Labor Day picnic to her job. Sorry, but how many of your employers allow a low cut tank top and camel toe skinny jeans at the office? All this brou ha ha has prompted emotional reactions from NFL players like the Redskins Clinton Portis , who is known for his "talk first, think later
All of my male media brethren went cruising into this sacred place, and then, there was only me—the lone female reporter covering a USC football game—waiting outside. Me, the girl who has no fear, was nervous. Fear of the unknown tends to do that to you. Cripes, maybe I should just wait til they all get dressed before talking to them? In I went into the world of major testosterone, stinky athletic shoes, and wrinkled jerseys, and out I came a different person.