Some of this is going to get blown out of proportion, because I’m sure Charissa Thompson is well-connected enough by this point in her career to not completely make up sideline reports. She’s locked and loaded. Years of credibility established. No one’s turning her down for an interview nowadays.
…But was that foundation of credibility founded on more than a bit of fiction? Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Fake it till you make it. That’s what they say in many businesses, or regarding the concept of confidence. It just breeds sketchy behavior is the only thing.
In Thompson’s case, probably not something you want to admit on public record more than once. Seems like everyone forgot about it till now…
Weird to be covering a bit of news from a former employer, but if Jake Marsh weren’t on the spot transcribing this thing and putting a blog up about it, it’d have probably been me. So whatever. I digress…
I’M KIDDING. Please let that be abundantly clear. OK. Moving on…
Here’s what Thompson had to say about her, ahem, improvisational antics from back in the day:
“I’ve said this before, so 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.”
Thompson proceeds to explain how she’d just rattle off coaching cliches and boilerplate talking points to get by in lieu of actual quotes.
Anyway. X reaction to Thompson’s repeat admission ranged from pretty explosive to quite funny.
Young reporters: This is not normal or ethical. 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. https://t.co/yMnM1T995P
This is extremely infuriating and completely unethical. DON'T FOR ONE SECOND BELIEVE THIS IS THE NORM. This is already a role in a profession that is already stereotyped as just being "eye candy." Good sideline reporters do their homework, talk to players and coaches throughout… https://t.co/3Hrx6WOg2n
All #CharissaThompson had to do was say "The coach didn't speak with us. He's still in the locker room but he can't be happy with that first half because… X & O." You DON'T make up reports. This is shameful and speaks to why trust in the media is at an all-time low. @CharissaThttps://t.co/IAfSoF48EY
I'm not condoning what Charissa Thompson did to manufacture nonexistent sideline reports. However, there are a rules that the NFL sets that remove a lot of "reporting" ability from the sideline and try to force an information conduit role. pic.twitter.com/UrHdIr896n
I asked Amazon if Charissa Thompson would address on TNF tonight the controversy surrounding her disclosure she made up sideline reports. The response: “She was telling a story from 15 years ago. “ that sounds like a no
I have a couple personal takes on this: First of all, this just drives my point home even more about those who work in sports and are lucky enough to cover one sport, one league, and/or one team in said sport/league. The complacency is staggering in a lot of corners. I know many people had to grind to earn their seat, but some of these beat writers who are grandfathered into an unimpeachable perch at these old-timer outlets/newspapers drive me up a wall sometimes.
Second point: We need to transform sideline reporting into comedy sketches. If we’re out here just making sh*t up, why not make a sport out of it? A game within the game?
Pay Bill Hader like $5 million a year to just spout nonsense during prime-time games as a test run. Have him do different characters and voices each week. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t send ratings through the roof.
Then, still employ a traditional “sideline reporter” to give injury updates and nothing else. That’s all we really care about them for anyway. Most other stories they tell, it’s more or less like, “OK less talking from you, please, and more about the game that’s happening.”
Can’t wait for a halfhearted apology from Thompson. It’s about to be the most PR-crafted statement you’ve ever seen. Not a genuine word in it. That “apology” might as well be a comedy sketch, too. Come on, Charissa. A little self-parody never hurt anyone!