Saturday, November 18, 2023
Web Desk

Charissa Thompson, NFL broadcaster who faked sideline reports, says 'I never lied'

Charissa Thompson's remarks provoked a furious response from sports media professionals as well as some fans

Web Desk
Charissa Thompson gestures during a sports event. — AFP/File
Charissa Thompson gestures during a sports event. — AFP/File

Charissa Thompson, an NFL broadcaster issued an apology after acknowledging that she had made up stories while she was a sideline reporter in her early career.

"I haven't been fired for saying it... I would make up the report sometimes," Charissa Thompson said on a podcast released earlier this week, reported BBC.

Her remarks provoked a furious response from sports media professionals as well as some fans.

The anchor said on Friday that she had "never lied" and had used "the wrong words".

"I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation," she wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. "I'm sorry. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster."

"In the absence of a coach providing any information that could further my report I would use information that I learned and saw during the first half," she said.

In American football broadcasts, sideline reporters are essential because they provide real-time information from the field or nearby. They frequently divulge information that coaches provide them with during a game.

These days, Thompson, 41, mostly works as a host for Amazon and Fox Sports.

Thompson stated on Tuesday in an interview with Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast that occasionally "the coach wouldn't come out at halftime, or it was too late and I didn't want to screw up the report." I decided to make this up, so to speak.

She said that in certain situations, she would frequently fall back on cliches.

"No coach is going to get mad if I say, 'Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves... and do a better job of getting off the field," she said. "They're not going to correct me on that."

In a post on X, previously Twitter, Laura Okmin, a coworker at Fox Sports and the third-longest-tenured sideline reporter in league history, attacked Thompson.

"The privilege of a sideline role is being the one person in the entire world who has the opportunity to ask coaches what's happening in that moment," she wrote.

"I can't express the amount of time it takes to build that trust," she added.

ESPN college football reporter Molly McGrath, who is nominated for a Sports Emmy, cautioned young journalists that this kind of activity was "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," she said.

Thompson's remarks, according to ESPN's Morgan Uber, denigrate other women "in a profession that is already stereotyped as just being eye candy".

"Good sideline reporters do their homework, talk to players and coaches throughout the week and on game day and most definitely don't make up reports," she stated.

The BBC reached out to Fox Sports and Amazon Prime, but neither company provided a response.