Leave Charissa Thompson Alone
Sideline reporting doesn't need a massive media defense
Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber is fond of saying, “There are no rules, but you break them at your peril.” It’s a phrase I’ve found applicable to much of public life, especially in the entertainment space. In show business, including sports media, we’re all just sort of making it up as we go along. There’s not much sacred here, and these games, emotional as they are, fall short of the difference between life and death. It’s fun, “the toy department of human events,” as Pat Riley called it. We shouldn’t take it so seriously
And yet, there are still are rules, apparently. Football sideline reporter Charissa Thompson has broken a big one in admitting that early in her career, when the coach didn’t show up at halftime, she would sometimes make up some vague milquetoast quote for broadcast.
I found this admission about 2008-era sideline reports to be candid and amusing. Much of sports media was not so amused. What she did was “damaging.” It makes one “disgusted.” It’s “professional fraud.” It’s a betrayal, somehow especially of Black women. And on and on. Thompson has since posted a quasi apology statement, saying, “‘I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster.”
Within the hysteria, a fairly inoffensive paragraph speaking to Thompson’s good qualities got cut from Richard Deitsch’s column in The Athletic, announced with the following explanation:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained a paragraph about the author’s previous professional interactions with Charissa Thompson that did not meet our standards. It has been removed.
What failed to meet standards? The following, apparently: