An ugly locker-room incident involving several naked New England Patriots players and Boston Herald sportswriter Lisa Olson has mushroomed into a major-league embarrassment and a call for a boycott against razor king Victor Kiam, the football team's owner.

Kiam, who serves as chief television pitchman for his Remington Products Inc. compounded the injury Sunday by reportedly calling Olson "a classic bitch" in the middle of the Patriots locker room. Earlier he told a reporter there was no reason his players shouldn't stand naked in front of her.

"I felt humiliated, degraded," Olson, 26, said by telephone yesterday from Boston, where she is the focus of intense media coverage. "I've called it mind rape. I felt violated, disgusted. I was ready to scream, to cry or throw up."

The incident began Sept. 17 when Olson, a three-year veteran of the Herald who has covered the Patriots since summer training camp, walked into the team's locker room after practice. She said some players had been annoyed at her a few days earlier for remaining in the locker room to do several interviews.

That Monday, while she was interviewing one player, Olson said, four or five Patriots emerged naked from the shower. "Several of them approached me, positioned themselves inches away from my face and dared me to touch their private parts. I refused to give them the satisfaction of looking up, though I can positively say one of them was {tight end} Zeke Mowatt ...

"One of his tamer comments was, 'Is this what you want ... Is this what you're looking for?' ... I'll never forget it, I was so disgusted," Olson said.

The sportswriter said she immediately complained to Patriots public relations man Jim Oldham, who she said confirmed that he had seen part of the incident.

The Herald, a feisty afternoon tabloid, wrote nothing of the locker-room lechery for several days while its executive sports editor, Bob Sales, waited for a response from Patriots General Manager Patrick Sullivan. "It's an atrocious incident that should've been handled expeditiously by the Patriots," Sales said yesterday. "It would've been gone in one day."

"I didn't want to become the story," Olson said."I felt it would be like a rape victim's name getting out."

But the team did nothing, and the Boston Globe broke the story Friday. The Herald caught up Saturday and the saga quickly rivaled the recent collapse of the Red Sox as the talk of sports-mad Beantown.

When another Herald reporter called Kiam during the weekend, according to Olson, the owner complained that the paper was "asking for trouble" by sending a woman into the locker room and said of his players, "They can wiggle their waggles in front of her face as far as I'm concerned."

After the Patriots' 41-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Olson was tailed by three team officials when she entered the locker room, making it impossible for her to do interviews. She sarcastically asked Kiam if he wanted to follow her too. As she walked away, Kiam said sotto voce, "She's a classic bitch. No wonder the players don't like her." His comments were heard by several male sportswriters, who dutifully reported them.

It was like pouring gasoline on a campfire. The Herald plans to publish an editorial today urging consumers to boycott Remington, staff members said.

Yesterday, Kiam denied the quote and issued an apology. "I did indicate that the young lady was aggressive," he told reporters at an NFL owners meeting, "but I wouldn't have used that word in any case and I was standing next to the president of a religious institution and I certainly wouldn't use those words in front of a religious man like that."

He issued a statement saying, "I apologize to Lisa Olson, the other members of the media who cover the Patriots and our fans for any remarks which I made which may have been construed as having condoned these actions. I intend to see to it that such actions do not occur again."

The team, which is required by National Football League rules to allow equal access to female sportswriters, limited itself to a single statement Monday in which General Manager Sullivan apologized to Olson.

Sullivan said one player had been fined by the team. The Boston papers have said this was a $2,000 fine against Mowatt, who earns $630,000 a year.

Sports editor Sales said he has complained to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, asking that all players involved in the incident be named, required to apologize and ordered to undergo counseling.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is "monitoring the situation. ... There's certainly no place in the NFL for the harassment of reporters, male or female."

Twenty years after the first women sportswriters were admitted to locker rooms, the Boston media are having a field day over the issue.

"Harassed Reporter Olson Returns to Scene of the Grime," read one Globe headline.

"How conspicuous it was that Victor Kiam, who has plastered his mug all over television with those relentless Remington blurbs, yesterday was ducking cameras with more agility than any of his Patriots showed in Cincinnati," Herald columnist Jim Baker wrote. With "a badly soiled image" based on his "attitude toward women in the media," Baker said, Kiam is "learning the hard way that dealing with it in the media is a whole lot harder than selling Lady Remingtons."

Olson, who has covered the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox without incident, is still steamed. "I'm in there to get a story," she said. "I'm a sportswriter. The worst part of the job is being in the locker room. It's smelly, it's stinky, there are dirty socks around. It's horrible. I hate it."