Charissa Thompson talks on set of the Amazon Prime TNF pregame show prior to an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on October 26, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. Credit - Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Fox Sports‘ NFL Kickoff host Charissa Thompson has responded to criticism after she said on a podcast released earlier this week that she would sometimes “make up” quotes in her sideline reports during NFL games early in her career.
On Friday, Thompson, a former sideline reporter, released a statement on Instagram explaining her previous statement. “I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster,” she wrote.
She continued on to say: ”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,” adding that, in those instances, she never attributed anything to the players or coaches.
Thompson says she “would make up reports”
Thompson, 41, appeared on “Pardon My Take,” a Barstool Sports podcast hosted by Dan "Big Cat" Katz and Eric Sollenberger, known on the podcast as “PFT Commenter,” in an episode posted earlier this week and made a statement about her time as a sideline reporter for Fox.
“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,” Thompson said during the interview, “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.’”
Thompson went on to explain that she assumed coaches wouldn’t take issue to her pointing out the seemingly obvious. “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.’ Like, they’re not gonna correct me on that.”
Thompson previously admitted to making up sideline reports in 2022, during an episode of her podcast with NFL sideline reporter, Erin Andrews, “Calm Down” with Erin and Charissa. Andrews added that she had also engaged in the practice, saying, “I’ve done that, too, for a coach that I didn’t want to throw under the bus because he was telling me all the wrong stuff!”
The reporter’s comments faced swift backlash from her peers in the industry. ESPN broadcast reporter Molly McGrath noted that Thompson’s actions were “not normal or ethical” in a post on X. “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.”
CBS Sports Lead Sideline Reporter Tracy Wolfson also said that the practice was by no means an industry standard. “This is absolutely not ok, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels,” she said in a post on X.
In her statement, Thompson clarified that her description of her actions were imprecise.“Working in media I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation,” she wrote. “I’m sorry.”
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