The role of sideline reporting has increasingly come under the microscope over the last day thanks to Charissa Thompson.
Thompson, who now hosts the Amazon Prime pregame and postgame shows, admitted this week on Pardon My Take that she has fabricated information for broadcasts after being unable to track down a coach.
“I’ve said this before,” Thompson said, via Awful Announcing. “I haven’t been fired to 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. 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 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.’ They’re not gonna correct me on that. So I’m like, it’s fine, I’ll just make up the report.”
While Thompson might be right that a coach wouldn’t take issue with her assuming the boilerplate line they would have given her, making something up and reporting it on behalf of someone is journalistic malpractice. As such, Thompson faced widespread blowback from just about everyone in the media space, particularly other sideline reporters.
Though he didn’t get into the Thompson situation specifically, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told Shan & RJ he has no qualms with the role and its impact on him.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve just always looked at it as part of the job,” McCarthy said Friday morning. “The network is a partner, I’ve always looked at it as trying to work together. I try to give the reporter something that is real and it represents our football team. I think anytime you talk about your team, you do care how it is represented. It’s not very long, it’s just a couple minutes and it’s as you walk in or walk out, so I don’t dread it.
“They have a job to do and I understand that. They may dread it more with me because obviously who wants to talk to a coach when things aren’t going well walking in and out.
“I’ve always looked at it as a working relationship and the ladies do a phenomenal job. They’re prepared, they’ve got their two or three questions and it’s pretty seamless has been my experience.”
Thompson hosted the studio shows for Thursday’s Bengals-Ravens game, so at least in the immediate aftermath, she didn’t face any repercussions for the admission.
Ironically, sideline reporting was key for viewers of this week's Thursday night game. Joe Burrow injured his wrist during the second quarter, and Amazon's Kaylee Hartung reported coming out of the half that Bengals head coach Zac Taylor indicated it was unlikely Burrow would return -- which he ultimately didn't.