Fox Sports’ Charissa Thompson, who used to be an NFL sideline reporter for the network before transitioning to a new role, recently admitted that she sometimes made up reports during games instead of gathering information from coaches and accurately relaying it.
She explained during a podcast appearance that coaches were sometimes hard to get ahold of at halftime, so in some cases, she took it upon herself to share generic reports that were unlikely to raise any eyebrows.
“I’ve said this before, so I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again,” she began. “I would make up the report sometimes because…the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime, or it was too late, and I was like — I didn’t wanna 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 needed 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.'”
Folks in the sports world have had a lot to say about Thompson’s admission, with many of them calling her out for her approach.
Make up the report? Seriously? If I made up a report and presented that to our Bulls listeners I should be reprimanded and released. What happened to integrity? https://t.co/QHxosk33dw
— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) November 16, 2023
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
— Molly McGrath (@MollyAMcGrath) November 16, 2023
Charissa Thompson messed up on many levels.
1) Making up reports. Pretty self evident as to why.
2) I get it PMT is a relaxed environment, but revealing that was an odd choice
3) All the sideline reporters who do the job correctly look bad as a result.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) November 16, 2023
I usually try to avoid getting grumpy on here but: this really blows! It’s very discouraging! I can’t get it out of my head!
Please give jobs to people who work hard and want to do them well! https://t.co/fMpkZiwIBf
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 16, 2023
She admitted this out loud? Why would anyone trust anything she reports from here on out? https://t.co/eyskzaFiXJ
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 16, 2023
1) this stinks
2) we'll have an earnest convo about in-game coach content one day. https://t.co/dJEdo2j00e
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) November 16, 2023
There have been times when Pop — jokingly! — will say, "Just write whatever you want and I'll say I said it."
But we'd never actually DO that. https://t.co/qRFC6x87Qu
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) November 16, 2023
Completely unprofessional and I’ve worked with some sideline reporters who do an awesome job.
This is nonsense. https://t.co/FVHlyKk9Vb
— Terrence Oglesby (@T_Oglesby22) November 16, 2023
It’s disheartening to work so hard & see people who don’t deserve it continually get opportunities.
The sideline reporter roles rarely come open & when they do they’re gone in a blink of an eye
To see Charissa Thompson abuse this role that so many sought after is disgusting
— Tamara Brown (@Imtamarabrown) November 16, 2023
While it’s somewhat rare for coaches to offer any groundbreaking information or comments during in-game interviews, it’s the principle of Thompson’s admission that is alarming to many. She seemingly violated some key journalistic ethics by making up reports.
Moreover, it’s certainly possible that some of her made-up reports attributed quotes or messages to coaches who wouldn’t have said the things she reported had she actually spoken to them — even if the information she reported was trivial in nature.
Thompson’s decision to speak publicly about the tactic also seems to be catching some people by surprise, and it’s becoming evident that she may have put herself in a bit of a hole by admitting what she did.
It may be worth noting that some folks have started to question the value of in-game interviews in sports. While sideline reporters do important work beyond simply speaking to coaches at halftime, teams keep their cards so close to their chests that coaches are often unlikely to share anything of significant value during the middle of a contest.
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
— Morgan Uber (@Morgan_Uber) November 16, 2023
It will be interesting to see if Thompson ultimately issues a statement in response to the backlash she’s receiving for her comments.