Charissa Thompson, Sideline Reporting, and the Importance of Accurate Journalism

Omar Zahran
7 min readNov 20, 2023

In a shocking admission, the former NFL sideline reporter and current Thursday Night Football panelist has revealed that she occasionally fabricated reports during her time as a sideline reporter

This week former NFL sideline reporter and current Thursday Night Football panelist Charissa Thompson made some comments that have caused debate among football fans and evoked charged responses from journalists. On the popular podcast “Pardon My Take”, Thompson admitted that when she was a sideline reporter if she was unable to get an interview with a coach heading back into the locker room that she would simply fabricate a comment, such as being better on third down. Or in other words, something a coach is likely to say that no one would question.

The backlash from journalists and other sideline reporters was scathing, calling Thomson unethical and not a proper representation of the hard work that sideline reporters do on a daily basis. Thompson, after the wave of backlash, took to Instagram to clarify her remarks, apologized for using the wrong words, and reiterated her respect for the profession. But in the eyes of many, Thompson has lost all credibility, particularly among her peers. Fans, who already have preconceived notions about the importance of sideline reporters, have taken to double down on this perceived lack of importance. More than anything, this incident has once again shined a light on the complex relationship between the media and fans, the importance of true journalism, and the inherent sexism that exists in pro sports.

The Often Maligned Sideline Reporter

Sports fans can often be crass people when in the safety of their fellow fans. The amount of times that I have been in a gathering place where a game was being watched and an attractive sideline reporter was delivering an update on tactics or an injury, the same comment would inevitably come up. A crude comment filled with sexual innuendo and a dismissal that this person only got their job because they are attractive. I have seen this with reporters like…