For female sports reporters like FSN Wisconsin's Trenni Kusnierek, the story regarding ESPN's Erin Andrews is a bit of a slippery subject.
The sports media workplace is a competitive field, and many women feel extra pressure to prove that they are capable, competent and not "another pretty face." In analyzing their colleagues, however, they have to be careful to avoid charges of jealousy and pettiness.
In the wake of the Andrews stories this week, we e-mailed Kusnierek, an occasional OnMilwaukee.com contributor, for her thoughts.
"This is obviously a touchy subject... but I'll do my best to be diplomatic," Kusnierek wrote. "I understand that Erin Andrews isn't considered a "journalist" so the same rules that apply to writers and television reporters, do not apply to her. She (and ESPN remote game crews in general) gets better access to players and managers and the story lines Erin follows are often very different from what (Journal Sentinel beat writers) Tom Haudricourt or Anthony Witrado are going to write.
"With that said, I still think reporters should hold themselves to the highest professional standard. I found her dress to be inappropriate for the workplace. Even some Brewers players said that although she's great to look at, the dress wasn't appropriate for the ballpark.
"When the talk of the day is not the game, but how high a hemline is, that is a problem. I realize that part of our job as female reporters is to look good. I'm not an idiot and I know our gender is part of the reason we're employed. With that said, we should never become the story of the day.
"I (and Jen Lada) wear skirts and sundresses to the park all the time, but both of us have a pretty simple rule that the outfit should always hit no higher than an inch or two above the knee. If I would wear it to a party, it's not appropriate for work.
"As for Mike Nadel's column, it was refreshing to see someone hold her accountable instead of ogling her in print. It was obvious by the comments made by Lou Piniella and Cubs players that the outfit and behavior were unacceptable.
"And I know what all the guys out there are going to say, ‘Trenni is just being catty because she's jealous.' Trust me when I say I'm not. Erin is a beautiful girl with a body I'd kill for. I know she's hotter than me. But, she'd still be better looking in a professional outfit, not just in glorified lingerie. As a female in the same business, I wish she'd realize how damaging it is to an entire gender when she carries herself in that manner. It sets us all back to a time where female sports reporters were all seen as husband hunters who were only in the business to catch a cheap glance.
"I think this market with me, Jen, Jessie Garcia (of Channel 4) and Stephanie Sutton (Channel 12) proves that theory wrong, but stories like these mean we all have to work harder to regain that trust."
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.