THE GUILTY verdict is in and the big fines have been imposed, but countless Americans still believe that a woman reporter's place is not in the locker room of a professional football team.
When this furor first erupted, I received mounds of letters from men and women. The majority of them said that female sports reporters aren't really looking for news stories; they are shameless hussies who want to enter locker rooms to gaze upon the players' sex organs.
At first, I disagreed, saying that the players could easily resolve the dispute by donning robes or wrapping towels around their waists. And that it was not gentlemanly for someone like Zeke Mowatt to jiggle his manly objects in front of a young woman's face.
But now I've reconsidered the entire dispute and I've decided that the female reporters are wrong, and the players have been done an injustice.
What changed my mind was a conversation I had with Bubba "Norbert" Lurch, the all-pro mauler and noted thumper.
Bubba said that allowing women in the locker room is not the worst indignity that football players suffer.
"It's bad," he said, "having the girlie reporters peeking over their notebooks at my masculine adornments. But what's even worse is when we have to go in the hospital.
"As you know, a lot of us get injured playing football. And before our careers are over, the majority of us have to undergo one kind of surgery or another.
"But do you know what happens when we go into the hospital? We have to take off our clothes, that's what. And do you know who works in hospitals? Women. Just look around and you'll see that most of the nurses are women. And now you're even getting a lot of doctors who are women.
"The last time I was hospitalized, a nurse came into my room and said she had to give me a shot. I asked her where. She said in my backside.
"Well, I knew what she was up to. So I said: 'You shameless tart. You just want to do that so you can look at my magnificently muscled buttocks.'
"So she called the head nurse, who insisted that I submit to the indignity of having my nude backside scrutinized by a woman. But I told her that she was nothing but a hussy, too, and I refused. I said: 'What kind of women are you, working in a hospital just so you can look at a man's buttocks?' She said: 'It is part of our job.' I said: 'A likely story.' And I refused to let them gawk at my bottom. They finally brought in a male doctor who gave me the shot. Of course, I made him take an oath that he wasn't gay.
"But that wasn't the end of it. When it came time for me to undergo surgery, I saw the surgical team, and it was shocking. In addition to the nurses, there was a woman doctor. She was the one who puts you under.
"I said: 'I refuse to go through with this if there are any women in the operating room.'
"They said: 'Don't be ridiculous. Of course there will be women in the operating room. So what?'
"And I told them: 'How am I to know that while I am under the anesthetic, totally helpless, defenseless and oblivious, that this woman doctor or the nurses will not be sneaking furtive glances at my manly parts? Or even worse than furtive glances, staring in wide-eyed wonder and admiration? I know the way women are and what lewd thoughts they have.'
"Well, the doctors got upset and said: 'Look, bozo, the women are not interested in looking at your reproductive organs; they are there to do their job.'
"I said, 'Hah, I've heard that one before. That's what those female sports reporters say too. But I'm wise to all of you. The only reason you become nurses and doctors is so you can take a peek at my special purpose. For all I know, you might even bring out cameras and take pictures and then take them home and show them to your girlfriends and neighbors. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.'
"But they stuck the needles in me, and the next thing I knew it was over and I was back in my room. And that wasn't the end of it. They kept coming in and changing the sheets and things like that. And every time they did it, they had a chance to peek at my whatsis.
"So I think it's a terrible shame. Every day there are thousands of men in hospitals, with nurses and lady doctors gawking at them. I sure wouldn't let my daughters grow up to do such lewd work. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but my old mom never did anything like that."
But didn't she change your diapers, Bubba?
"I forgot about that. See? You can't trust nobody."