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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Most sportswriters would just as soon not be in the locker room

I felt this week as if someone had turned the Wayback Machine to 1985, when after the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium I entered the Boston College locker room, leaving behind a female journalist who had to wait for BC officials to bring players out to her.

We have come a long way in the quarter century since, and 99.9 percent of the time female journalists having equal access to men's locker rooms - especially at the pro level - is a non-issue.

But every once in a while, it is, as the Jets and Ines Sainz of TV Azteca learned last weekend.

Much has been made of Ms. Sainz's style of "journalism" and her choice of attire, and it's a fact that many mainstream female sports journalists are uncomfortable with her having become a symbol of their cause.

But it's also a fact that as a credentialed media member she deserves the same respect in her workplace as any of the rest of us, and anything short of that must be taken seriously and not accepted as boys being boys.

The larger issue is the presence of journalists of both sexes in the locker room in the first place.

As exciting as the notion of visiting the players' inner sanctum might seem to the average fan, the novelty wears off for the average media member extremely quickly.

I never have gotten and never will get fully accustomed to conducting a serious conversation with a naked, 300-pound offensive lineman.

One of the best things about my five years on the sports business and media beat is that it has severely cut back on my need to enter locker rooms.

Here's the thing: Much as most athletes would prefer us not to be in their presence when they are showering and dressing, most journalists would prefer not to be there, too.

As a practical matter, though, the only way the news media could or should agree to such a radical change would be for every player to be forced to visit a separate interview room in a timely fashion after the game.

Presented with the opportunity to rid the locker room of the news media at the cost of spending a few extra minutes before bolting the stadium, most players would not take the deal.

So for now, we're there to stay. Like it or not.

Tags: Jets

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