A year ago, after she was barred from the locker rooms at Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series, SI Reporter Melissa Ludtke Lincoln—and Time Inc.—brought a suit based on sex discrimination against the club, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the City of New York. Last week, stating that the locker-room ban on female reporters put them at a "severe competitive disadvantage" with their male colleagues, U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley ordered that women be given equal access to those rooms at the Stadium.
The Yankee locker room immediately became a showcase for female TV reporters, apparently there to show how their presence affected the ballplayers. It didn't. When the opening-night hoopla subsided, the women sports reporters made use of their newly won access, uneventfully joining their male counterparts in postgame interviews.
Indeed, as Newsday Columnist Bill Nack was told by Yankee Outfielder Paul Blair, "If she's got a serious job to do, I can put up with it. I'm uncomfortable about it, but I don't begrudge people doing their jobs." Added Pitcher Ron Guidry, "If you have something personal about it, if you feel shy, all you have to do is drape a towel around yourself."
Nonetheless, the Yankee front office and Kuhn disagreed. At week's end, Judge Motley granted a defense motion to amend her original order so that the players would have the option of dressing in complete privacy. All reporters, male and female, would be admitted for 15 minutes immediately after the game. Then the locker room would be closed for 30 more minutes before being reopened. This seemed hardly Solomonic to many reporters, who interpreted it as a deliberate attempt to turn the men writers against the women.
What dismays us is Kuhn's stance. Last fall, before Lincoln filed her suit, he asserted that if baseball's locker-room access rule was shown to be unfair, he would willingly change it. But last week, stonewalling—not change—seemed to be foremost on Kuhn's mind. Not only did he return to court to obtain the ruling, but he also seemed intent on limiting any change to Yankee Stadium. In a message to the other 25 clubs, Kuhn told them not to worry. They were not affected by the new rule, he said. It appeared that Kuhn hadn't gotten the message: The times they are a-changin'.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
When Pete Rose visited the nation's capital last week to meet President Carter and be honored by Congress, at least one Washington notable was not sure what position he plays. Elizabeth Ray, former secretary to Representative Wayne Hays, was standing on the steps of the Capitol when Rose and his entourage departed. "I came back for some things I left in my office two years ago," she explained. "What's all the excitement about?"
" Pete Rose was just here," she was told. "Oh, I know him," she said. "Wasn't he on the House Ways and Means Committee with Wayne?"
No one ever accused Calvin Griffith of putting one foot in his mouth when two are better. Still, appearing before the Lions Club in Waseca, Minn. last week, the flinty owner of the Minnesota Twins must have set some kind of Guinness record for MOST TOES STEPPED ON IN A 40-MINUTE HARANGUE.