First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Sep 15, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Given that Reggie Bush forfeited his trophy before the Trust could meet to vote on whether he could keep it, I imagine that the Trust instead voted on whether OJ could keep his trophy?

We'll start the morning with a laugh. We may need it. Bush did the smart thing, I think, putting the Heisman people on the defensive and putting an end to all the questions about what he would do. And he did cheat. But he's got a Super Bowl ring and all that entails, so move on. Let's hope, anyway. Tired of hearing about it. I don't know how they could take it from him and let Pete Carroll off scot-free but the inequities of the college football system don't surprise me much anymore.

How embarrassing was it to have a column in the paper about how Portis newfound maturity, and then the same day he embarrasses himself, his team and the NFL with 12 year old level snickering about how women reporters were in the locker room to check out all the "packages"? Did you consider updating your column during the day? That is the advantage of the Internet.

No, not embarrassing. I wrote that he bought into the system and I don't back off from that. I do not suddenly think he's back to square one because he said what he said. I also think he's entitled to his opinion. I know far more female reporters than he's ever seen in his life, and he couldn't be more wrong, but there you go.

Truthfully, I was qiute surprised by the whole thing. Twenty-seven years ago when I was a reporter, this was the prevailing wisdom of everyone. Today, I don't get that vibe off anyone in the locker room. Not a single guy.

Ask yourself, would male reporter be allowed into a woman's locker room where women walk around totally nude? No, they wouldn't, so why are women reporters allowed this? This situation with the Ines reporter, is total entrapment. She put the hook out there and reeled it in. Too easy.

I seem to recall the WNBA letting men in the locker room and the women just wearing robes. I'm trying to remember more clearly. I'll have to ask Katie Carrera. The WNBA is about the only place the question applies.

The answer to why women are allowed in is simple: If we're not, it's discrimination because we can't  do the same job men can do. We let women go to war but they can't go in the locker room?

That said, I have never felt comfortable in there and never will. If they had a different system, as long as it was the same for everyone, I'd be fine with that. But they don't.

The thing to do is be respectful of others. I know which players will talk stark naked without blinking an eye and which ones want to put on clothes before you approach them. I learned this by approaching players and asking if they could talk. They will tell you what they want.

And just to paint a picture: We're not in there after the game. They all come off the field, then there's a meeting and a delay. It's supposed to be 10 minutes but it's usually longer. By the time we come in, players are often gone. After a win, fewer are gone than after a loss, but there are some you can't find after a game, period.

The quarterback is almost always brought to the podium afterward in a news conference setting. Sometimes other players, if everyone wants them, are brought in as well, such as D'Angelo last week.

Most reporters who are writing live spend maybe 10 minutes tops in the locker room. When I'm not writing live, I stay a little longer; depending on the game time, you might not go in at all.

During the week there are designated open locker room times. Players can make themselves scarce for those; some do, some don't. Players are seldom in any state of undress during those times because they are between meetings or between meetings a lunch. So the only issue is game day, truthfully.

Sorry this ran so long, but maybe it helps to know what is actually happening in there. We aren't in there for hours, staring. We're on deadline and truthfully you don't notice too much other than looking for the guys you need.

I don't know a lot of men who love going in there either, by the way.

Hey, Tracee, whatcha wanna bet that if Maria Sharapova had won the U.S. Open women's singles championship, the photo selected for the front Sports page would NOT have depicted her from the back with a gaggle of photogs in the center of the photo? Same for inside pics? Let's have some equality here -- the Post should recognize that female readers don't mind photos of hunks like Rafael Nadal that show their excellent bods. You know that there would have been at least one shot of Sharapova's panties peeking out from underneath her tiny skirt, and at least one other shot of what little frontal cleavage she has. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose, right?

I guess. Women are laying out the sports section pretty often, too, so it's not the male world you might imagine.

Look, I won't go into all the mysognistic talk ("She had it coming, look what she was wearing!") and I think Portis is an idiot, but for someone that felt sexually harassed, she sure did make the rounds with the press the past day or two. You couldn't really change the channel without seeing her face.

The last American reporter to come forward and discuss her treatment at the hands of athletes got run out of the country. That was before cyberspace and Twitter and instant celebrity. It's hard to say how Lisa Olsen would be treated today but since she didn't look like this woman, or dress like her, perhaps not much would change.

If you're in the locker room and you are intimidated, tell someone. No problem with that. There are team employees dogging our every step at Redskins Park, which is why this just wouldn't have happened in that locker room. But don't make it your 15 minutes. Ah, well, it's 2010 and I'm lapsing into "you damn kids get off my lawn" so I'll stop.

Let's be clear about something. . .you and other female reporters don't get that vibe because the players (most of them anyway) understand that to express any type of sexuality towards a woman in that setting is inappropriate. That doesn't mean they don't notice an attractive woman and think about it and talk about it among themselves. I agree that it is unacceptable for players to treat women in their workplace different from women in any other workplace but to suggest that they shouldn't notice or have opinions or thoughts is. . . .ridiculous. There's just no way to prevent that from happening.

Absolutely. Some of these guys may think I shouldn't be in there, but they are mature enough to keep it to themselves. Of course they're going to notice a pretty young woman walking around. But to think we're all in there shopping ... oy vey.

Do you think Michael Vick should be the starting QB in Philly?

Yes. You know how coaches won't take a job away from an injured guy but yes, if Kolb hadn't been hurt, I think he'd have been pulled anyway and the result would have been the same: Vick goes in, looks impressive, nearly pulls it out.

Tracee, I'm surprised at you: the Hamilton Tiger Cats, and I'm not even named Hamilton! I do, however, have a tiger cat, and the two of us have become devoted fans. They've even turned me into a fan of Canadian football -- more wide open style is is more fun to watch. And the fans are much better behaved. Meow!

I have a tiger cat, too, so I'll jump on the bandwagon.

To me the simple issue is, if what Reggie Bush is believed to have done was made known during his Heisman Trophy season, and he was disqualified, he wouldn't have been eligible for the award, and his draft position and contract might have been affected. However, the only punishment he receives is "damage to his name"; it doesn't cost him in the manner it costs the school (including scholarships, etc.) The same with Pete Carroll. Both went on to "bigger and better" and more financially rewarding situations. Somehow, and I know it's not possible, maybe their pro team loses draft picks, etc. as part of hiring/employing/drafting them and their ultimately revealed involvement.

The inequity of college football makes me want to hit myself in the head until the voices stop.

I've got to find a happier question. We're gloomy today.

Check out the photo on the back page of today's Style section for the type of bicycle you can picture Cheese Boy on.

Ah, yes, and a good way for me to remind everyone that Steinberg will be tomorrow.

Morning Trac - So when is your prime time one-on-one special exclusive with Portis happening...or will you be too distracted by all the packages in the room?

If they don't implement a running play called the 53 package I'll be so disappointed.

If they don't sign him, its a big mistake. I think I"ll write this every day.

Please. Saves wear and tear on Boz.

I want the Nats to stay exactly where they are now. Not too bad so the team thinks of leaving town, but not too good so season ticket holders won't shed their ticket on StubHub for $5. It's the best sports value out there!

Not a viewpoint I see every day, but okay... although if you've never lived in a town with a pennant race and World Series victory, you should experience that once in your life. Everyone should. Delicious.

I think I'm open to new ideas (adding guests to Hamiltime) and technologically savvy (Redskins Insider video chat), but so far I would chalk up this week as a bust. Jason--who is clearly knowledgable and I enjoy reading regularly--came across as a dud on Mon. His humor and sarcasm didn't translate and he really gave no insight, other than to be the contrarian to every question that came in. He seemed irritated, like we were disturbing him. I'm sure he is completely nice, but was he a willing participant or was a sharp object used to 'enourage' his participation? Moving on to Tues...I was stoked for yesterday's video chat and quickly disappointed. Maybe I'm the only one that had an issue, but the advertisements played exceptionally well--however the rest of it was, well, not functioning. So I gave up. (maybe posting some basic instructions would help?) Not to sound old fashioned, but can we just go back to the meat and potatoes version of online chats? So much simpler and straightforward.

Jason's a dear; maybe he was tired. Most of us got home late and got up early, and with little kids, I'm sure Jason got even less sleep.

So your problem with the video chat was watch-ability? Hmmm. I'm posting this so the editors and producers see it. Did you try later to watch the video?

I'm afraid the meat and potatoes version of online chats is going the way of ... meat and potatoes. I'll hang on to mine like grim death.

Good morning! I'm the guy who started this conversation, and the comments yesterday have convinced me that some compromise is in order. I'm posting early because I have to go out and make some money today. It's acceptable to wear a football jersey if you went to that school, or for the pros *unless* you buy a new version every time they put one on the market. You need to look like you've been a "real" fan forever, so better to wear a shopworn Riggo jersey in the real burgundy, for example. It's only acceptable to wear a basketball jersey if you have the body to wear it without a t-shirt underneath. If you're built like me, nobody wants to see your Ostertagian arm flab flopping around. It's also acceptable to wear a baseball jersey, but again, the older the better. Throwbacks are always okay, and the more obscure, the better. But if you're over 12 and you're not there with your kids, leave the glove at home. If you can't catch a ball with your bare hands, you don't deserve the ball, Nancy. Hockey, soccer, and the other lesser sports? I have no idea. Hey, as long as we're on the subject? There's really no need to yell "It's in the hole" every time a golfer swings a club.

I didn't want to start this again, but you thought about this so much I couldn't resist. Plus the "In the Hole" rule is a good one.

Tracee, many Cowboys fans are in D.C. as a legacy of George Preston Marshall's refusal to integrate the Redskins in the 1950s and early 1960s. Before the NFL expanded to Atlanta and then New Orleans, Washington was the South's team. "Hail to the Redskins" was often followed by "Dixie" by the Redskins Marching Band. Your illustrious predecessor, Shirley Povich, noted sarcastically "Jim Brown integrated the Redskins' end zone today." Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, finally told Marshall that unless the Redskins integrated, they would not be allowed to play at D.C. Stadium, which was on federal ground. With such a legacy, why would black Washingtonians root for the Redskins? Of course, time has reversed this folly; the Redskins took a black quarterback to the Super Bowl and won. However, the damage was done. Many Washingtonians are still loyal to the Cowboys. Are you aware the Chieftains are doing an album based on the legend of the San Patricios battalion?

Thanks for the insight. The Redskins' crowds always seem very diverse, although moreso at RFK.

Thanks for the Chieftains tip. Always looking for new music.

Hi, Tracee, I was waiting for a "slow" day to ask this, but figure that won't happen for months. Freecycle is an organization that helps people dispose of unwanted items that others receive for free, thereby keeping items out of landfills. You can offer items or request them. It's great for furnishing your first apartment or getting/clearing out clothes for your growing children. Recently, however, a number of people are asking for NFL tickets. I live in Annapolis, where most people are Ravens fans, but some requests for Redskins tix also sneak in. Often there's a "hook," e.g., my husband is a huge fan shipping ott to/returning from Afghanistan. I doubt this keeps too much out of landfills, but I don't have trouble with that. I'm wondering if it works! My husband is a 40+ HVAC guy, and I know that he, too, would love to see a game. I just don't have the nerve to ask for tickets. Does anyone have any experience with this one way or the other? Thanks.

I'd never heard of this but I'll throw it out there; our chatters are savvy.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand he and USC were knowingly breaking rules and there should be concequences. On the other hand, he (and USC) probably didn't do anything that alot of other programs are doing or are allowing to happen. College football is great but it has evolved in to something far more than a game for student athletes. I suspect that the true solution lies in recognizing that reality and stopping the sham that the athletes are really at college to be students. . .meaning creating a minor league of some variety for football. College football could still exist but it would be ONLY for athletes that are actually at the school for academics. Your thoughts?

I am ready to call for the paying of college football players, and that's not a decision reached lightly.

Did one NFL team ruin it for all the other teams behaving appropriately, or did one unprofessional reporter ruin it for all the professional reporters? Both? Neither? Thanks.

Perhaps a perfect storm of stuff. I can guarantee, this would NOT happen in a Skins locker room, or rather team employees would have stepped in.

And you know what, so would some of the players. I took a world of grief from the Pistons way back when, but the guy who put a stop to it was, perhaps ironically, Isiah Thomas and some of the bench players, including John Long and Vinnie Johnson.

I have been in the Caps and Nats locker rooms as well; zero problems, zero bad vibes. They don't even blink. I was really surprised when I heard about the incident, and even more surprised to hear how Portis feels about it. But he's never made my job more difficult (or easier, but that's okay) and I don't suppose he'll start now. Just treat me like everyone else.

He was clearly the better quarterback. I don't follow the Eagles enough to know why they chose Kolb over Vick in the first place? So tell me why did they?

Quarterback of the future type decision. Vick is seen by them as a wildcat quarterback only, I guess.

I'm disgusted with big time college sports (read: football and men's basketball). I would have loved to see Reggie Bush use this opportunity to rail against the system -- refuse to apologize, refuse to turn over the Heisman, and encourage every "student-athlete" to go out and get an agent tomorrow. The system has to change and the only way to do that is through radical action. Too many people, including the NCAA bigwigs, the coaches, the agents, benefit from the status quo. It is simply absurd, particularly in light of the summer "conference swapping" extravaganza. Thoughts?

Completely agree. The Georgia kid with the jersey put me over the edge.

Did you feel what he said was a big deal or am I a tone deaf male. I thought he was trying to be funny or sarcastic, but who knows. And really I am no prude but having reporters walk around the locker room while guys are showering strikes me as odd - why not keep all reporters out of the locker room until dudes are dressed?

Because dudes will leave, or take forever, and we're on deadline. I should also add, there are rooms they can go into to change, and the shower is blocked from the locker room. I suppose I could go look in the door but I wouldn't. In fact, I was waiting to talk to Andre Carter Sunday and I purposely positioned myself to give those guys some privacy (he's right next to the shower door). Common sense on both sides would solve a lot.

Who cares about Reggie Bush or women in the locker room. I wanna know about the Texans versus the Redskins! What are your early thoughts on the game?

I want to know where this Foster kid has been. Wow! Saw him in the preseason and thought, well, it's the preseason, but he just went wild against the Colts. The Texans are going to be a tougher fight than the Cowboys, I think, don't you?

The offense has to show signs of life this week. Get the running back established and spread the ball around. And the run defense is going to have to be crazy good. It's going to be a tough game.

My scoring system is 1 point off if the jersey is for another team, same sport. 2 points off if the jersey is for the same town, different sport. If you're wearing a different team in a different sport (Oakland raiders at a Nats game), you like sports but are obviously crazy.

Ah, you have a points system. Good for you (I think).

Any chance the NFL does us a favor a suspend him for the next three months?


Tracee, I couldn't disagree more with the poster who acted as if Bush is getting off Scot-free while the university is taking all the real punishment. The universities make millions of dollars off of "student"-athletes, so I shed no tears if they get sanctioned occasionally when they don't pay close enough attention to their players' activities. It's no difference that any other employee-employer relationship. Corporations get sued to huge dollars for the misbehavior of their employees all the time.

I don't feel sorry for the institution; I feel sorry for the kids who played on those teams, whose parents didn't get a dime, and who are now embarrassed because of the actions of one guy and his parents. I feel sorry for those kids. The school should be policing itself; no sympathy there.

Tracee: "Of course they're going to notice a pretty young woman walking around. But to think we're all in there shopping ... oy vey." Oy vey yourself. Your taking Portis out of context and changing the meaning of what he was saying. He was saying that that it's natural to expect both the men and the women in that situation to notice each other. He never said, or even implied anything about shopping. The headlines used to manufacture this controversy in the Post and all over are totally misleading. This is very unfair to a guy who was just answering a question honestly. Really brings it back to Bull Durham about talking to the media. "know your cliches," "Cliches are your friend.' Sad.

Sorry, I was trying to make a joke about the 53 packages. Guess it didn't work.

college reporters working for the school paper?

Some do. I was paid. It was a laughable amount, but I was paid. Depends on how the paper is funded, but in my case the paper wasn't an arm of the school.

with everyone being naked in the locker room during interviews. Well, maybe not Tony Kornheiser.

Good way to end this day, I think. The HVAC guy is upstairs tearing out my ceiling; I should go wring my hands or something.

Thanks, everyone, and let's talk tomorrow. Bring your Cheese Boy questions!

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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