Charissa Thompson, a co-host on pregame shows for Fox Sports and Amazon’s Prime Video, acknowledged that she has fabricated comments from NFL coaches while working as a sideline reporter.
The admission surfaced earlier this week on the Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take.” Thompson, who first worked as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports from 2007 to 2010, said she would fabricate comments if a coach refused to speak to her or was unable to provide access before halftime ended.
“I didn’t want to screw up the report, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to make this up,’” Thompson said. “Because, first of all, no coach is going to 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 going to correct me on that.”
Whether the coaches cared or not, making up comments is a clear breach of journalistic ethics.
Thompson made a similar admission on a January 2022 podcast she did with fellow sideline reporter Erin Andrews. They both said they improvised when coaches gave them nothing to work with or answered questions with sexist remarks.
A representative for Amazon Sports declined comment on Thompson’s remarks. Fox Sports did not respond to a request for comment.
Thompson currently is a co-host on Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” pre- and post-game shows. She is also a co-host on “Fox NFL Live,” which airs Sunday mornings. She worked at ESPN before re-joining Fox Sports in 2013.
While people expressed outrage on social media about Thompson’s admission, such a practice is not unheard of in sports reporting.
Gregg Gionnotti, co-host of WFAN radio and the CBS Sports Network morning program “Boomer and Gio,” said on his Thursday broadcast that he did the same thing when he was a radio sideline reporter covering the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
During a game against the University of Connecticut, Panthers coach Paul Chryst was giving an interview to ESPN’s Jemele Hill, and halftime was concluding before Gionnotti could get his turn.
“I said, ‘I’m going to just make something up. Are you OK with that?’” Gionnotti recalled. “He’s like, ‘Yeah, fine.’”