‘Deplorable’: Sports journalists criticize Charissa Thompson for making up reports

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On Thursday, NFL broadcaster Charissa Thompson said that she used to fabricate statements from coaches when she worked as a sideline reporter. She now works as a host for Fox Sports and Amazon Prime Video.

‘I would make up the report sometimes because, A, the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime or it was too late,’ she said on the ‘Pardon My Take’ podcast, ‘and I was like, I didn’t want to screw up the report, so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna make this up.”

Many reporters across the sports world responded to Thompson’s admission, saying that her actions violate the journalism ethics, which would never tolerate making up information.

‘I had to watch the video multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being pranked. Yep. She said that,’ he wrote. ‘There’s no way Thompson, who has been doing this for more than a decade and knows better, should survive this. This is a firing offense. It’s not even close.’

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Several other sports journalists took to social media to share why Thompson was wrong.

Andrea Kremer, Lisa Salters respond to Charissa Thompson saying she makes up reports

Award-winning reporter Andrea Kremer, who was the recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2018, took to X to explain why Thompson’s actions were offensive.

‘As one of only 3 women in the @ProFootballHOF I’m sickened by the insulting mockery being made of sideline reporting,’ she said, ‘a challenging role primarily manned by women – most of whom understand & respect the values of journalism and are integral, trusted members of a broadcast team.’

Lisa Salters, a veteran journalist who is a sideline reporter for ‘Monday Night Football’ and has covered the Super Bowl, posted on X for the first time since March to share her thoughts on how Thompson’s admission leaves a bad mark on the industry.

‘Shocked. Disappointed. Disgusted. What we heard today called all sideline reporters into question. My job is an honor, a privilege and a craft at which I have worked so hard…,’ she said in two posts.

‘Trust and credibility. They mean everything to a journalist. To violate either one – in any way – not only makes a mockery of the profession, but is a disservice to players, coaches and, most importantly, to fans.’

Other journalists ‘devastated,’ call Charissa Thompson’s comments ‘deplorable’

‘I hold myself to the highest standard in everything I do- I KNOW my hard working colleagues do the same,’ she said. ‘We earn respect the hard way. To those commenting on the irrelevant role of sideline reporters- beat it! WE ARE JOURNALISTS. THESE actions are not normal.’

Tracy Wolfson, who is CBS Sports’ NFL and NCAA basketball reporter, chimed in with how the news affected her.

‘This is absolutely not ok, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels,’ she said. ‘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.’

ESPN’s Molly McGrath offered Thompson’s comments as a lesson for young journalists.

‘This is not normal or ethical,’ she wrote on X. ‘Coaches and players trust us with sensitive information, and if they know that you’re dishonest and don’t take your role seriously, you’ve lost all trust and credibility.’

‘A good portion of the public doesn’t trust the media as is,’ he said. ‘I cannot believe she would proudly admit this. This causes significant harm to the people who actually take the job seriously. It’s entirely unethical and worthy of never working in the field again.’

Laura Okmin, who is an NFL sideline reporter for FOX, also shared her thoughts on the social media platform.

‘THE privilege of a sideline role is being the 1 person in the entire world who has the opportunity to ask coaches what’s happening in that moment,’ she said. ‘I can’t express the amount of time it takes to build that trust. Devastated w/the texts I’m getting asking if this is ok. No. Never.’

Sports reporters suggest how Charissa Thompson could have handled sideline reports

ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney replied to Okmin’s statement, agreeing with her comments. He added a suggestion for how to properly handle the situations Thompson said led her to make up reports.

‘If the coach/manager declines to answer any questions, you start with that,’ he said. ‘And then plane onto other information.’

Veteran reporter Lindsay Rhodes, a former anchor for NFL Network’s ‘Total Access,’ also offered a solution to what someone could do if faced with the situation where Thompson felt pressured.

‘She tells the producer, ‘he didn’t stop’ and they don’t go to the sideline reporter for an update she doesn’t have,’ she said on X. ‘OR, she tells the audience that in her report. Or she observes things herself & reports them without misleading anyone into thinking it came from someone it didn’t.’

Criticism for Charissa Thompson’s comments impacting women in sports

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, women’s basketball reporter for The Athletic, examined the impact Thompson’s impact has on women in sports media. Women have historically been the minority in the industry and continue to break barriers.

‘I don’t think she realizes how this looks,’ she said on X. ‘Women have had to work so hard to gain credibility, to prove themselves, to show they’re fully capable of not only sideline reporting but so so much more. Think about how many years it took just for Beth Mowins to get to call an NFL game.’

NFL reporter Lindsay Jones wrote that Thompson making up quote ‘is unforgivable.’

‘I thought it was a near universal experience for women in sports media is the feeling of needing to work twice as hard to be taken seriously; that you can’t bare to make a mistake,’ Jones wrote on X. ‘So the cavalier way Charissa Thompson cavalierly admitted to making up quotes is unforgivable.’

Lindsay Gibbs, women’s sports journalist and founder of the Power Play newsletter, also expressed frustration on social media reflecting on what the situation means for women.

‘Just thinking about how hard women in sports have worked to be taken seriously,’ she said, ‘how many trailblazers made it possible for her to have that job, just for her to go and do this (expletive).’

Patriots host Tamara Brown shared the sentiment that comments like Thompson’s make an already tough journey harder for women in sports, especially women of color.

‘As a black woman who’s been GRINDING to get a network job as a sideline reporter this is infuriating,’ she said. ‘I’ve been told I wasn’t ready, nothing was open, left on read…you name it. Yet there are people like you in these roles not taking it seriously.’

ESPN college sports reporter Morgan Uber echoed the criticism of Thompson’s actions, calling them ‘extremely infuriating and completely unethical’ while pointing out the difficulties women face being judged by their looks instead of their work ethic.

‘This is already a role in a profession that is already stereotyped as just being ‘eye candy,” she said. ‘Good sideline reporters do their homework, talk to players and coaches throughout the week & on game day and most definitely don’t make up reports. Period. There’s still journalism involved, despite what you may think.’

This post appeared first on USA TODAY