Jason Whitlock: Can a sexist decide when a woman is and isn’t protected from harassment?
In case you don’t know who Jason Whitlock is, he is a former ESPN and Kansas City Star writer who makes a living saying outlandish things because as his profile for FoxSports.com says “Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can’t imagine or muster courage to address.” That statement, in it of itself is funny to me; how courageous do you have to be to write about sports? In any case, I read one of Whitlock’s earlier columns that spoke about Ines Sainz, a Mexican sports reporter. Whitlock, being the courageous fellow he is, took the angle that “[Ines Sainz] chooses to flaunt her cleavage and other ass-sets [sic]. She chooses to dress like she’s hitting a single bar. Is she asking to be sexually harassed? No. She’s demanding that men and women take notice of her body. The Jets obliged, inappropriately.” He continues, “Ines Sainz knows what she’s doing. She knows the consequences of her decisions.” In other words, according to Whitlock, Ines Sainz had those cat calls and inappropriate stares coming AND she wanted it!
That is definitely a courageous angle to take. To willingly acknowledge that women who dress provocatively “know the consequences” (i.e., being stared at, whistled at, and perhaps groped a little) of what they are doing says a lot about Whitlock, specifically that he is a sexist columnist. What is more interesting here is not the fact that he’s openly sexist, but that he is also a hypocrite. In less than a month, Whitlock’s opinion went from, Ines Sainz knows the consequences of her decisions (i.e., she had it coming) to saying Jenny Sterger “is a courageous woman” on his Twitter account.
Jenny Sterger is a former FSU cowgirl that can be found nude, semi-nude and half-nude with a quick Google search. That same Google search will show Jenny Sterger dressed as provocatively as Ines Sainz on the Jets sidelines. But somehow Jenny Sterger is different from Ines Sainz in Whitlock’s eyes. Why? That’s a question I asked him and he refused to explain before blocking me on Twitter. But back to the matter at hand, why is Jenny Sterger any different from Ines Sainz? Whitlock seems to think that ”It does not matter that Jenn Sterger’s on-full-display, fake breasts were her only qualification to land a job with the Jets. She should be afforded protection from harassment.” Apparently, Whitlock was part of the hiring process with the Jets when they interviewed Jenny Sterger since he seems to know that her “fake breasts were here only qualification”. Only a sexist like Whitlock could simultaneously defend AND backhand a woman within the same paragraph. Imagine for a second that I wrote this about Whitlock: It does not matter than Whitlock’s sexism is on full display, being black and sexist were his only qualifications to land a job with ESPN. He should still be afforded protection from racism and angry women. How do you think that statement would go over? Not very well. Yet we continue to allow idiots like Whitlock to openly dictate what is and what is not “acceptable” levels of harassment, as if that even exists. Again, are there acceptable levels of racism? No. Harassment is harassment, no matter what level. Sure, sending a picture of your penis to a woman is more serious than whistling and staring at her, but again, they are both still wrong! Is calling an African-American the n-word any less serious than beating that same African-American because of the color of his skin? Of course not! There are levels of wrongness with sexism and racism, but wrong is wrong. Racism is racism no matter what the act, just as sexism and harassment do not change based on the act committed. So to dismiss one harassment claim as “she had it coming” while offering backhanded protection to another harassment claim is hypocritical and in Whitlock’s case, cowardly.
Which brings me full circle. Why did Whitlock really draw a line in the sand between Ines Sainz and Jenny Sterger? Why would one woman deserve protection from harassment over the other? It’s a lot easier to explain than I initially imagined. Take his quote about Ines Sainz and replace it with Jenny Sterger’s situation. It would read something like this: Jenny Sterger demanded that men and women take notice of her body. Brett Favre obliged, inappropriately. Sounds really harsh and extremely idiotic right? It kind of sounds like something that would likely get you fired (or maybe it would cause you to “leave”) from your job. Well, I would imagine “leaving” three different employers three different times because of idiotic statements might get tiring.
Whitlock, if you’re going to call yourself courageous you should at least stick to your guns. But then again, saying that a woman who dressed provocatively and received unsolicited pictures of a married man’s penis “knew the consequences of her decisions” sounds ludicrous, extremely sexist and idiotic. Perhaps that should be Whitlock’s new tag line because it seems like the “courageous and imaginative” schtick doesn’t really fit well. Then again, what does fit him well?
You can read both idiotic Whitlock columns here and judge for yourself: http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/brett-favre-jenn-sterger-allegations-should-be-resolved-by-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-100810 and http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/clinton-portis-ines-sainz-new-york-jets-nfl-truths-jason-whitlock-091610