In the losing locker room at RFK Stadium Monday night, the losing players on the losing team acted like a bunch of losers. After a 23-21 loss to the Washington Redskins, several New York Giants refused to allow a female reporter to interview them, then reacted violently when a local radio reporter came to her aid.
But in defeat, the Giants might have won a couple of postgame battles: they made sure that some TV and radio sports directors and newspaper sports editors will at least think twice before sending women into their locker room again and that one local radio reporter knew where he stood the next time he wanders deep into New York territory.
Apparently, the Giants have the league's No. 1 defense on and off the field.
Part 1 of this story begins with Cammy Clark, who works part-time for United Press International and WRC-TV-4 and who wrote a story for The Washington Post that night. Clark wanted to interview members of the Giants; several of them wanted her to get out.
The NFL established a policy of equal access for female reporters this year. But the Giants, whose offense only recently discovered the 1980s, still are a few Super Bowls away from joining modern civilization. Only two weeks ago, the Giants became the last team to open its locker room to women.
"I tried to ask Lawrence Taylor about (Joe) Theismann's injury," Clark said. "He started swearing at me, got up and went to the shower. Then we were around (Leonard) Marshall. I had my back to (Brad) Benson; he started to heckle me from behind."
In the wake of the incident, WRC Sports Director George Michael pondered the problems facing women sports reporters. Michael employs three female producer/reporters, and the bullying tactics concern him.
"I want my women to do the same stories as (WRC sports reporter) Scott Clark, but I don't want them to have to be warriors . . . The Cowboys were the worst. They wouldn't let us even go onto the training complex because our sound man was a woman," Michael said.
Kathy Gerrity, a WRC producer/reporter, said, "No matter what, as a producer, I'm there to get a story, and I should have equal access."
Clark said she has been to six home Redskins games this season and experienced player resistance at four of them.
When she was hassled badly by Detroit Lions players last month, Gregg Mosso, a sports reporter with WHUR-FM-96.3, "came up to me and said, 'Don't let them bother you.' "
Which brings us to Part 2 of this story. Mosso again was witnessing Clark's problems in the Giants' locker room Monday night, and this time, he took a more active role.
"(Benson) was stating out loud he wasn't going to do any interviews with any women," Mosso said. "He said he wasn't dressed. I informed him he could solve that problem by putting on one of the robes they have provided. He told me to go get him one. I told him I didn't work for him.
"He told me I was an arrogant . . . That's when I told him they were a bunch of losers."
Mosso's stand deserves respect, but his choice of remarks at that moment deserves reevaluation on his part. As soon as the word losers left Mosso's lips, several Giants tried to sack him. Carl Banks blitzed from nearby, Marshall stunted past a couple of chairs and Phil McConkey charged from downfield.
"Banks jumped out of his stall and grabbed the microphone out of my hand," said Mosso, 34, who has been with WHUR for 13 years. "A few cats were pulling at the chains around my neck."
"He didn't go in there to cause a scene," Clark said. "He knew I was upset the first time it happened."
Like most of the Redskins, Mosso survived the Giants' assault. What's more, he says he would act similarly if the situation came up again.
"She's a reporter just like I am. I don't think her credibility should be demeaned because she happens to be from the opposite sex. My choice of words was misguided. I called (Benson) a loser because of the approach he was taking with her . . . They should make special concessions. I know it's a little extra work," Mosso said.
"My reaction was that a member of the media who's outraging my guys got what he deserved," Giants Coach Bill Parcells told the New York Daily News. "A guy comes in, he's a tough guy, he's arrogant, what do you expect? You get what you give."
Meanwhile, Mosso must prepare for the next time he meets Banks, Marshall or Benson without a helmet on. "I'm making an all-out effort to be in tip-top shape for the next time I confront Lawrence Taylor and the rest of them," Mosso, who is 5 feet 9, 175 pounds, said jokingly.