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Female broadcasters from across the sports spectrum threw a figurative flag after Charissa Thompson recently admitted to making up sideline reports years ago.
On Wednesday, Thompson, 41, appeared on the Barstool Sports podcast "Pardon My Take" and discussed her former work as a football sideline reporter. According to Thompson, coaches weren't always available for comment after halftime or otherwise didn't provide her with enough material so that she could do her job. In those cases, she apparently came up with something on the fly.
"I would make up the report sometimes," Thompson said, "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 going to make this up.'
"No coach is going to get mad if I say, 'Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves,' 'We need to be better on third down,'" she continued. "They're not not gonna correct me on that. So I'm like, 'Fine, I’ll just make up the report.'"
When Thompson told a similar story in January 2022 on a podcast with NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Andrews made a similar admission. "I’ve done that, too," Andrews said, "for a coach that I didn’t want to throw under the bus because he was telling me all the wrong stuff!"
However, this time, Thompson's sisters in the business were not so supportive. Many took to social media to criticize Thompson for taking advantage of the trust coaches place in reporters.
"This is absolutely not OK, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels," said Tracy Wolfson, CBS' lead sideline reporter. "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."
Lisa Salters of ESPN's "Monday Night Football" claimed she was "shocked, disappointed, disgusted" by what Thompson had done.
"Devastated w/the texts I’m getting asking if this is ok. No. Never," said Laura Okmin of "NFL on Fox."
Jenna Laine, also of ESPN, suggested there was no excuse for making up reports. "If I may...this is why you over-prepare," Laine wrote in an X thread. "Lean on reporting from earlier in the week with top storylines and get really unique back-stories. Hope that helps."
Molly McGrath used Thompson's confession as a teachable moment. "Young reporters: This is not normal or ethical," McGrath posted 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."
On Friday, Thompson, who hosts "NFL Kickoff" on Fox Sports and "Thursday Night Football" on Amazon Prime, released a statement on Instagram to apologize for what she had done in her past and to clarify her remarks in the present. She said that, while she would occasionally "create" material about the first half of a game whenever a coach couldn't provide "any information that would further [her] report" at halftime, in such instances, she "never attributed anything ... to a player or coach."
"I'm sorry. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster," her post also said.
Thompson added that she has "nothing but respect for sideline reporters and for the tireless work that they put in behind the scenes on and off the field." She also called her colleagues "in the business" some of her "best friends."
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.