The Cincinnati Bengals are in the middle of a firestorm. And Andrew Whitworth is fired up.
After their 34-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills, the Bengals were subjected to humility and shame. A reporter and his camera crew went inside the Bengals locker rooms for the typical post-game analysis and interview session. The NFL Network crew wasn’t ready for what happened next. Several Bengals players were in the process of stripping to get dressed and were recorded in the act.
Bengals players could be seen in various states of nudity as reporter Albert Breer asked Adam Jones about the impact of the game. The camera never panned away and caught the Bengals players unaware. NFL GameDay announcers could be heard laughing and snickering in the background as they tried to give highlights of the game. The cameraman tried to zoom in on Jones’ face, but the damage had already been done.
Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth was among those who were filmed unknowingly. He was not laughing as he addressed the situation per the Cincinnati Enquirer. His anger went beyond the issue of nudity. He wants the policy on open locker rooms to be changed.
“This is my office space,” Whitworth said. “I shouldn’t have to change in it and be in front of people I don’t know or really don’t have any purpose for being near me other than the fact they are interviewing other people. If I was a woman, this would be a completely different subject, and it would be a complete firestorm. We can’t always just serve women and everyone else. Men deserve a right, too. We have rights. We have privacy. We deserve all the things we want as well. As a man, I think it’s right the policy is changed.”
Having always been the Bengals’ player rep until giving up the position to linebacker Vincent Rey, Whitworth has always thought the policy was old and needed to be changed. His stance has become even stronger after the release of the video and irresponsible actions of the crew that filmed the interview.
The Bengals’ offensive tackle went on to say that he felt the policy should be changed to consider the children who may be watching. It’s bad enough children are subjected to nudity through the media in general. They shouldn’t have to witness it while watching their favorite players during a post-game talk.
No specific policy is in place regarding video shot to avoid players in the background, but a widely acknowledged process is in place to keep all video without any compromising shots.
It’s believed this has never occurred at NFL Network before. That’s where the major problem came into play, with the crew both on the scene and in New York.
At the time of his interview, Whitworth said he and the Bengals players were waiting on a personal apology from those responsible. He felt something would be put up through the Bengals media, but there wouldn’t be a public apology. Whitworth went on to further challenge the policy.
“You can’t judge us off who we will and won’t accept into our locker room and then say all these things we have to do, but then also put us in a situation where every single day I have to change clothes and be naked or not in front of media. It’s just not right.”
Alex Riethmiller, spokesman for the NFL Network, offered an apology found in Yahoo Sports.
“[We apologize] to everybody that was affected: to the players, to the organization, to the viewing public, first and foremost. It was a regrettable mistake by our production team.”
[Feature Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images]