Charissa Thompson has made a bombshell announcement that she created quotes from coaches as she was reporting from the sidelines of games.
The Fox Sports and Amazon “Thursday Night Football” sideline reporter said during a recent interview, “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,” according to The Washington Post.
Thompson made the comments during an appearance on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take,” Sports Illustrated reported.
She justified her actions by saying, “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.’” She also said that “no coach is going to get mad” over her fabricated statements.
She said she only used statements all coaches make, such as, “Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves, we need to be better on third down, we need to stop turning the ball over and do a better job of getting off the field,” the Post reported.
“Like, they’re not going to correct me on that,” Thompson said, “So I’m like, ‘It’s fine, I’ll just make up the report.’”
While Thompson may think she did nothing wrong, other journalists are using her admissions as a warning, the Post reported.
College football sideline reporter Molly McGrath wrote on social media, “Young reporters: This is not normal or ethical.”
While CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson echoed McGrath, saying “This is absolutely not ok.”
Laura Okmin, a fellow Fox Sports reporter, wrote, according to The Athletic, “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. 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.”
Mike Freeman, in an opinion piece for USA Today, said what Thompson did “was providing viewers information, like other sideline reporters, it just turns out that some of it was lies. I had to watch the video multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being pranked. Yep. She said that.”
He said that she should be held accountable.
“This is a firing offense,” Freeman wrote.
Freeman added that Thompson admitted to making up reports before this week’s podcast, namely in 2022 during an appearance on “Calm Down” with Erin Andrews, where Thompson said, “I was like, ‘Oh coach, what adjustments are you gonna make at halftime?’ He goes, ‘That’s a great perfume you’re wearing.’ I was like, ‘Oh (expletive), this isn’t gonna work.’ I’m not kidding, I made up a report.”
Andrea Kremer said she is “sickened” by Thompson’s habit, USA Today reported.
While “Monday Night Football” sideline reporter Lisa Salter wrote she was, “Shocked. Disappointed. Disgusted.”
Kevin Smith, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, said, “This is just appallingly bad journalism to engage in, and to brag about it and defend it as harmless is beyond the pale.”
The society has an ethics code that spells out how journalists should cover news, including, “Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments,” and “Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.”
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