No Kissing in This Booth

Maxime Hamou can French kiss his reputation goodbye following his controversial actions at the 2017 French Open.

The 21-year-old, ranked 287 in the world, had been problematic even before his first round tournament loss.  Between snubbing a reporter after a poorly articulated question and harassing an umpire mid-match, I think it’s safe to say that professionalism is not in Hamou’s vocabulary.

Still not convinced?  Watch this video of Hamou post-match, repeatedly attempting to kiss Eurosport reporter, Maly Thomas.

I’ve never felt so uncomfortable watching an interview and I can only imagine how Thomas felt.  I applaud her on her ability to maintain composure during such an unpleasant exchange, especially while her team chuckled from the luxury of the studio.

“If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him,”  Thomas said in an interview; and I don’t blame her.

The French Tennis Federation released an apology statement as well as Hamou.  The FTF also banished Hamou for the rest of the tournament and will be discussing further punishment.

There are too many cases of female reporters facing harassment from interview subjects.  And in the realm of sports journalism, that means athletes, coaches, etc. are the culprits.

Remember Joe Namath’s drunk interview with Suzy Kolber back in 2003?  (Some of you already know where I’m going with this.)

But just in case anyone needs me to jog their memory, here’s a snippet from HBO’s “Namath” documentary…

Namath went on to say that this act of public humiliation enabled him to come to grips with his “drinking problem.”

When I first started taking journalism courses, I was taught to roll with the punches and to always do whatever it takes to get through an interview.  Pardon my naivety,  but being sexually harassed on air was not something I was anticipating, but for the sake of the integrity of journalism, I guess it’s just all part of the job.

We can commend these women all we want for “powering through” these inappropriate interviews because that’s just what a good journalist does.

But why should we have to endure such foolish antics at all?

Why do I have to write articles like this one?  I thought it went without saying that if you’re in the middle of an interview, you probably shouldn’t make a move on your reporter.

In the age of social media, anybody is subject to abuse on the internet.  With Twitter at its peak, it’s been easier than ever to send out a hurtful or even violent tweet to anyone.

Last year this video went viral revealing some of the tweets that female sports journalist are subjected to on a daily basis.

Notice how uncomfortable the men get, while some of these women seem desensitized.

It’s frustrating to me that there are so many people out there who, as far as I’m concerned, were never taught the proper way to treat a person.  It takes more time and effort to tweet something hurtful than it does to tweet nothing at all.

Women in sports media deserve to be taken seriously and respected.  But if you want to try your luck on a reporter, enjoy your fine and the humiliation.  Isn’t that right, Chris Gayle?

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