Fox NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews and studio host Charissa Thompson discussed texting players on their podcast “Calm Down with Erin and Charissa.” It was a brief segment and touched on the challenges of being a woman in sports media. In 2022 both women are accomplished enough in their careers that they feel comfortable sharing the fact that they communicate with players via text or direct message. That it took these two women at the top of their profession to say it says so much. But not about them.
— Calm Down with Erin and Charissa (@calmdownpodcast) September 19, 2022
Let’s all be honest with ourselves. Sports like the NFL are predominantly watched by men. If you’ve ever been to an NFL stadium and been around or near a female sideline reporter during a game, the things that get screamed at them are horrendous. But many men who attend live games, think and act like cavemen. Unenlightened and crass humans who see women strictly through the lens of sex.
It’s no surprise that whenever a female media member says something that a particular fan base, again, read men, disagree with about their favorite team or player, the woman’s social media mentions are filled with horrible comments, again mostly about her gender and often sexual violence they wish perpetrated against her.
Men also love to speculate on which player or players these reporters are sleeping with. Because obviously that’s women media members’ only real value right? How could they possibly offer anything else?
See this response?
We all know your prefer NBA players, not NFL
— Orthodoc (@OrthodocBruins1) September 19, 2022
So when Andrews talks about ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio’s hits on “Sunday NFL Countdown” and him saying, x,y,z player texted him, she opined “imagine if we said that?” It would fuel the flames of the misogyny these women deal with.
In 2022 texting players or sending them DMs is how you communicate. I do the same exact thing. Guess what? It’s also possible for a female reporter to have a platonic relationship with a male athlete. I know that’s difficult for some of you all to comprehend. But it’s true.
If San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance needed help finding a dog walker and Thompson knows the area and someone who performs that service, don’t we all prefer to receive recommendations for service providers? Why can’t she relay that information to him? Why must there be something sordid or illicit happening behind the scenes?
Here’s another thing that’s true. Just because a female media member dated a former player like Thompson did, or is married to a former player like Andrews is, doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing their jobs effectively. I know, another concept that’s hard for some of you.
That it took both women achieving veteran status — Andrews has been in the game 22 years, and Thompson 15 years — to finally feel comfortable saying that the way they receive information is through text messages says a lot about the way women are still treated in the industry and society at large.