The football pre-season is upon us, and with it comes harassing behavior targeting women working on the sidelines as reporters and analysts.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Jenna Laine took to Twitter to speak out about a male fan who had just accosted her on the sidelines while she worked. According to Laine, who covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for NFL Nation, the man touched her head and greeted her with a “Hey, sexy.”
I rarely speak on this stuff but today, I’m making an exception...— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 11, 2019
It is NEVER OK to come up behind a female reporter (or any woman), brush her on the head and say, “Hey sexy.” A fan (didn’t see his face) did this while I was kneeling on the sideline about 20 minutes ago...
It was a situation other women in the industry found familiar.
I’m sorry, lady. I’ve had a whole list of these types of experiences covering camp. I still love covering camp! It would just be really nice if we could do our jobs without navigating creepy stuff.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) August 11, 2019
WTF is wrong with people???— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 12, 2019
Ugh I’m so sorry. And thank you for speaking up. We shouldn’t have to be silent about this kind of BS.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) August 12, 2019
Laine thanked fans who expressed outrage on her behalf — but some accused her of overreacting to a comment she should have taken as a compliment.
She quickly shut down commenters who claimed her interaction with the aggressive fan was harmless.
As I’ve said before, I was in a “media only” area. I’m the only full-time female beat writer here. There is one other blonde female reporter who does TV and she sure as heck wouldn’t be tolerating that. https://t.co/M0vBDAxeo7— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 12, 2019
So that woman in your avatar, how would she feel if someone did that to her while she was trying to do her job? How would you feel if someone did that to her? https://t.co/Hcnz1uZ22r— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 12, 2019
To the folks suggesting I take being called “sexy” by a fan a compliment...— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 12, 2019
No. It’s not. This isn’t my playground. It’s my work environment. My name works just fine. I’ll gladly answer to it and say hello back!
Laine clarified that the players she encounters in her job treat “me like gold.” She also objected to comments comparing her request for a “safe, respectable work environment” to the presence of female sports reporters in a locker room.
I love how any conversation about female sports reporters wanting a safe, respectable work environment always turns to this...as if our sheer presence somehow warrants poor treatment. Would you say the same to a doctor performing an angiogram using the femoral artery? Doubt it https://t.co/94Hu0GqOKc— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 12, 2019
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