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Charissa Thompson claims she's made up sideline interviews

Sports reporters Andrea Kremer, Tracy Wolfson and Buster Olney were among those critical of Thompson's comments that she's fabricated interviews.
Charissa Thompson claims she's made up sideline interviews
Posted at 9:52 AM, Nov 17, 2023

NFL reporter Charissa Thompson raised eyebrows among her colleagues this week after saying that she made up comments from coaches during games. 

Thompson's comments drew scrutiny from other reporters who tend the NFL sidelines for major networks. Thompson is currently a reporter for Amazon Prime's Thursday Night Football broadcasts. She also serves as a host on "Fox NFL Kickoff."

Thompson made the comments during a taping of the podcast "Pardon My Take." 

During her career, she has worked the sideline for NFL and college football broadcasts.

“I’ve said this before,” Thompson said. “I haven’t been fired for 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.”

On Friday, Thompson issued a statement clarifying her comments. 

"Working in media I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation. I'm sorry. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster," she said. "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 to create my report. For example if a team was 0 for 7 on 3rd down, that would clearly be an area they need to improve on in the second half. In these instances I never attributed anything I said to a player or coach.

"I have nothing but respect for sideline reporters and for the tireless work they put in behind the scenes and on the field. I am only appreciative and humbled to work alongside some of the best in the business and call them some of my best friends."

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Other sideline reporters were not happy with Thompson's original comments about fabricating interviews. 

"As one of only 3 women in the @ProFootballHOF I'm sickened by the insulting mockery being made of sideline reporting," Andrea Kremer, who covered the NFL for ESPN and NBC, said, "a challenging role primarily manned by women — most of whom understand & respect the values of journalism and are integral, trusted members of a broadcast team."

CBS Sports reporter Tracy Wolfson had similar sentiments. 

"This is absolutely not ok, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels," Wolfson said. "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."

Buster Olney, who works the dugout for ESPN's MLB broadcasts, gave a simple answer as to what he does when managers refuse to talk to him. 

"If the coach/manager declines to answer any questions, you start with that. And then plane onto other information," he said. 

Despite the controversy, Thompson remained on the set for Thursday Night Football last night.

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