SPORTS

Female Reporter Returning to Work, but Not Locker Rooms

TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz measures Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston's bicep during the team's media day for Super Bowl XLIII Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. The Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Super Bowl football game on Sunday, Feb. 1.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz measures Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston's bicep during the team's media day for Super Bowl XLIII Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. The Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Super Bowl football game on Sunday, Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The female television reporter at the center of last month’s firestorm over alleged catcalls in the New York Jets locker room said Thursday she’s headed back to work – but is resigning herself to on-the-field interviews.

Inés Sainz, of TV Azteca, in México, will be back on the job next week, but suggested to the National Football League that she’ll keep herself out of locker rooms.

“I’m not going into the locker rooms anymore,” Sainz said at a news conference near Universal Studios in University City, California. “It’s not a good place right now for me. I don’t want to be in there.”

A few Jets players made catcalls as Sainz waited with two male co-workers to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is of Mexican descent. An assistant coach also seemed to deliberately throw footballs to players near where Sainz was standing on the sideline during practice.

Sainz said she was taken aback by the public reaction that followed.

"In the first moment, I didn't understand exactly what happened. It was very fast," she said. "When I returned back to Mexico and things started to calm down, a lot of media treated me very bad.

"If I dressed properly or not, I have nine years of my career making interviews with top players all around the world and I can't believe that someone says my outfit is not proper," she added. "It's unfair treatment. I believe the media thought they were going to find a victim but clearly I don't feel like a victim."

The NFL responded to locker room incident by developing a workplace conduct program, underwritten by Jets owner Woody Johnson, to educate players and staffs of all 32 teams.

Sainz released a letter she wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, dated Oct. 13, thanking him for his prompt response to the Jets' behavior. League spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Goodell received it.

Sainz said she is scheduled to do interviews with the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, followed by visits to the Jets and New England Patriots.

She had on hiatus after Jets' incident. 

"I need to wait one month to work again because I don't want to be the focus," she said. "I'm not looking for that kind of publicity. It affects my career and development in the States."

Her career suffered an apparent setback after the incident when Sainz was both victim and, to some, instigator. Her form-fitting clothes and comments – she has reportedly called her the “hottest sports reporter in México” – drew criticism.

"I like to look good, but that in no way makes me any less dedicated to the sports journalism world," she wrote to Goodell. "I'm proud of being a woman and I'm not shy about hiding it. However, this in no way makes me any less of a professional."

Sainz said she has received 10 to 12 job interviews and an offer to pose nude in Playboy, which the married mother of three children rejected. She accepted an offer from boxing promoter Top Rank to provide daily reports and features in the week leading up to the Nov. 13 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito in Texas. 

"I'm ready to move on and keep working," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.