Mexican TV reporter says she received apology from Jets owner
This Jan. 27, 2009, file photo shows TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz, left, after measuring the bicep of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston, right, during the team's media day for Super Bowl XLIII, in Tampa, Fla.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz said Monday she has received an apology from New York Jets team owner Woody Johnson for the way players and coaches treated her during a visit to the team's practice.
Sainz, a reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca, said in an interview with The Associated Press from New York that she had received the apology in a telephone call from Johnson.
"I don't want to make it a bigger deal," said Sainz, who said she talked Sunday with NFL officials. "I have confidence in the NFL and the Jets' management and I know that this will serve as a precedent so that this does not happen to another women."
Sainz said on Twitter that she felt "very uncomfortable" in the Jets' locker room following a practice Saturday during which a coach appeared to throw footballs in her direction and players called out to her.
During defensive back drills on Saturday, Jets assistant coach Dennis Thurman seemed to deliberately throw to players near where Sainz was standing on the sideline. Even linebacker Jason Taylor, who normally doesn't participate in those position drills, went out for a pass.
At the end of the drill, head coach Rex Ryan threw a pass to Thurman, who caught it, ran toward Sainz and appeared to speak to her very briefly.
The Association for Women in Sports Media said a board member spoke to Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum on Sunday about the reports.
"Of course you feel it when you are being stared at and when you are being spoken of in a certain way," Sainz said in the telephone interview. "I opted to ignore it ... I tried to not even pay attention."
She said waiting in the locker room to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez may have been the most uncomfortable. She tweeted in Spanish on Saturday night that she tried "not to look anywhere!!"
"It was an uncomfortable moment because you are in the team's dressing room and they are obviously changing clothes, showering — doing what they do every day in the locker room," Sainz said. "So being a woman, obviously it was a bit uncomfortable."
TV Azteca promotes Sainz both as a journalist and as a model. The network's website includes photo collections of Sainz and has an article in its "Bad Girls" section headlined, "Inez Sainz, the perfect woman." The article describes her as intelligent and having a good sense of humor, and is accompanied by a photo of her in a bikini.
She has covered the NFL before, including several Super Bowls. At a media event before the Super Bowl in 2009, she measured the bicep of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston. The year before, she asked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady what it would take for New England to beat the Jets. The Pats actually were playing the Giants.
The Jets, meanwhile, were preparing to open their season against the Baltimore Ravens in their first regular-season game at the new Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. in New York contributed to this report.
THIS IS A NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story is below.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is looking into how a female television reporter was treated at New York Jets practice Saturday.
Ines Sainz, a reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca doing a story on quarterback Mark Sanchez, had footballs thrown in her direction by a Jets coach during practice, and players later called out to her in the team's locker room.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday that the league and the Jets began looking into the situation when they were made aware of it Saturday night.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum called Joanne Gerstner, a board member of the Association for Women in Sports Media, on Sunday to discuss the matter. The two organizations were working to schedule an educational and awareness session with the team, according to Jets spokesman Bruce Speight.
Speight added that he also addressed the situation at the team meeting Sunday in advance of New York's season opener against Baltimore on Monday night at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Earlier Sunday, the Jets issued a statement, saying owner Woody Johnson spoke to Sainz on Sunday to discuss the incident.
"He stressed to Ines that he expects all members of the Jets organization to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times," the statement said.
The team also said it would work with the league to gather facts and "take any appropriate steps necessary to maintain a respectful environment for the media."
The AWSM said in a statement Sunday night that both the NFL and the Jets were "responsive to our concerns" and that it would continue to monitor the situation.
"We are awaiting the results of the investigation," the statement read, "and further action from the NFL and Jets."