Cooley and Rabach on locker room nakedness
I'm definitely nearing the point where if I write another word about reporters in locker rooms, you should feel free to punch me in the face next time you see me. But just let me take one more crack at this thing.
I would say I've gotten more e-mails about this topic over the last 24 hours than over just about anything I've ever written for The Post. And the e-mails overwhelmingly go something like this:
If women are allowed into men's locker rooms, men must be allowed into women's locker rooms. Also, even a male reporter barging in on a tired, dirty and sometimes nude player is rude, disrespectful and virtually harassment. I don't care about tradition, or deadlines, or what the media wants. This must end.
Obviously, this is a losing battle for me, and for all media members. But it just seems so strange to get these e-mails, because interviewing players in locker rooms is boringly commonplace for us, and for the players, the equivalent of you pressing a button in your office elevator. You don't think about it, ever, until something like this happens that suggests the practice is somehow controversial or remarkable.
Anyhow, I went to the furthest corner of the Redskins locker room on Thursday to ask (the fully clothed) Casey Rabach and Chris Cooley what they thought about locker room interviews.
"Ok, first and foremost, you obviously are in here and you see us," Rabach said. "How many times have you seen a guy just running around in here naked? It doesn't happen. Extremely rare. After the game is probably the most time you see naked players, and usually the reporters stand in the middle, they say 'Hey, can we talk to you?' you say just a minute. And you leave a towel on, you pull your drawers on, you take the towel off, put your jeans on, throw a t-shirt on, and all right, I'm ready.
"There ain't a whole lot of packages. I think it was awkward [initially], obviously your rookie season you're like, 'Ooh, what's [she's doing there]?', whatever female reporter was there. You're like, 'Ooh, this is kind of strange.' But after a while, you're just kind of used to it. Obviously people you talk to, even my wife, she's thinks it's totally bizarre and weird.
But it's not like we're just standing here butt naked, like 'All right, yeah, the Texans, they play a lot of man coverage...." I mean, I've heard stories of guys being a little out there, but it's not really an issue."
This perfectly reflects my experiences. Maybe seems odd the first couple times, then is completely natural, and almost no one ever behaves in an unusual or disrespectful manner, on either side.
"I don't even notice," Cooley said, when I asked if the dynamic was awkward for him. "I mean, it's not like you see guys just striding around the locker room naked. It's a non-issue in our locker room. Do you notice? I think it's a non-issue in this locker room. I've never noticed."
I also pointed out that he almost always seems dressed by the time the media enters the post-game locker room.
"For no reason," he said. "Usually it's because I want to leave. It's not because I don't want people to see me naked, it's because I don't want to answer questions. Yours."
So there's that. Cooley and Rabach are two of the most honest players in that locker room. Maybe they were lying. But again, this is exactly how I feel about it: it's a non-issue that I don't notice.
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