Former NFL sideline reporter turned “Thursday Night Football” desk host Charissa Thompson kept it “real” about how she has kept it fake on certain occasions while “reporting” what coaches are feeling in real-time during games.
Thompson revealed that she would make things up if she couldn’t write a report during halftime, and many of her contemporaries were very vocal in their disgust.
“I’ve said this before,” Thompson noted while on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes, because A, the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime, or it was too late and I didn’t want to screw up the report. So I was like, ‘I’m just gonna make this up.’
“Because first of all, no coach is gonna get mad if I say, ‘Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves, we need to be better on third down, we need to stop turning the ball over and do a better job of getting off the field.’ They’re not gonna correct me on that. So I’m like, ‘It’s fine, I’ll just make up the report.”
Thompson isn’t lying this time. She did say this before.
“I was like ‘Oh coach, what adjustments are you gonna make at halftime?’ He goes, ‘That’s a great perfume you’re wearing.’ I was like ‘oh f*ck, this isn’t gonna work.’ I’m not kidding, I made up a report,” Thompson said on the latest episode of “Calm Down with Erin and Charissa.”
The most revealing part: She wasn’t alone in this strategy.
“I’ve done that too,” Andrews also said on the podcast. “For a coach that I didn’t wanna throw under the bus because he was telling me all the wrong stuff!”
Fellow colleagues like CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to dispel the admission as something that is unacceptable.
“This is absolutely not ok, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels. I take my job very seriously, I hold myself accountable for all I say, I build trust with coaches and never make something up. I know my fellow reporters do the same.”
Now the polarization goes two ways with the admissions: Charissa Thompson and Erin Andrews can reach the highest heights of in-game sports journalism while telling the world they fabricate their reporting. Also, what went over many people’s heads is that the coach who asked about what perfume Thompson was wearing was either dry flirting or unprofessional when the topic was only football, based on her profession.
That sets up an argument for diverting the report based on the unprofessionalism of the interview subject, which could lead to problems for her career.
The Privilege Principle
Since the outrage began, Thompson took to her Instagram to clear the air.
“Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room. I have a responsibility to myself and my employers to clarify what is being reported. When on a podcast this week, I said I would make up reports early in my career when I worked as a sideline reporter before I transitioned to my current host role.
“Working in media I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation. I’m sorry. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster.”
Does a simple, “I’m sorry” fix what looks like privilege on steroids in reporting? After all, Thompson’s career has only advanced from her previous antics. To the reporters building relationships, challenging the coaches and players, and remaining steadfast in their journalism goals, stay the course because the truth always comes to light.