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Reporters Keep Out



EVER since a quintet of naked New England Patriots harassed Boston Herald sports writer Lisa Olson in the Patriots locker room, sexists have had a field day.

"Female reporters just don't belong in the locker room," they have repeated ad infinitum.

The thing is, these sexists are right. Female reporters do not belong in the locker room. Neither do male reporters. The NFL--and other pro and college sports leagues--should ban all journalists from locker rooms.

Of course, the despicable incident earlier this month was not Olson's fault. She was in the locker room because the Patriots were in the locker room, and her job requires her to talk to players after games. To bar Olson from the locker room while allowing her male counterparts access would constitute unconscionable and--according to the Supreme Court--illegal gender discrimination.

Clearly, if athletes are allowed sanctuary in the locker room immediately following games, all reporters should be allowed inside to talk to them. A deadline a deadline, and sports teams need the media as badly as the media needs the teams. But why force self-respecting journalists to degrade themselves by chasing naked jocks around a musty, steamy, slimy den of vulgarity?

It's a dirty job, and nobody should have to do it. And athletes deserve their privacy, too--no one should have to change in front of a horde of male or female reporters. Imagine the uproar if a male reporter tried to enter a women's locker room.

The solution is simple. Have reporters submit lists of players they need to talk to after games. Have those players remain outside until their interviews are done. Let all the other players go to their respective locker rooms. Don't let any reporters follow them.

Sexism pervades the athletic world, and Olson's mistreatment is hardly an isolated case. Just ask Jennifer M. Frey '90, a former Crimson sports editor who worked at The Detroit Free Press this summer. Like Olson, Frey was verbally attacked by a chauvinist athlete--in Frey's case, Tigers pitcher Jack Morris. Like Olson, Frey saw the offending organization's powers-that-be scurry to join the anti-feminist bandwagon. But this problem is not solved by opening the locker rooms to all.

"I don't want to be in a locker room, but the way it is now, I have to be if I want to stay in this profession," Frey said.

She shouldn't have to be.

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