Former NFL sideline reporter Charissa Thompson has come under fire for admitting that she used to make up halftime reports.
“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 on the Pardon My Take podcast on Wednesday. “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.'”
“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’… They’re not not gonna correct me on that, so I’m like, ‘Fine, I’ll just make up the report.'”
While the clip has since been deleted from X (formerly Twitter), plenty of Thompson’s fellow reporters chimed in to slam her casual admission.
Former Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Andrea Kremer said “As one of only 3 women in the @ProFootballHOF I’m sickened by the insulting mockery being made of sideline reporting, 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.”
“This is absolutely not OK, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels,” wrote Tracy Wolfson, the lead sideline reporter for the NFL on CBS. “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.”
Lisa Salters, a sideline reporter and co-producer of ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage, said she was “shocked, disappointed, disgusted” by Thompson’s claims.
“What we heard today called all sideline reporters into question,” she continued. “My job is an honor, a privilege and a craft at which I have worked so hard… Trust and credibility. They mean everything to a journalist. To violate either one – in any way – not only makes a mockery of the profession, but is a disservice to players, coaches and, most importantly, to fans.”
Laura Okmin, a sideline reporter for the NFL on Fox wrote, “THE privilege of a sideline role is being the 1 person in the entire world who has the opportunity to ask coaches what’s happening in that moment. I can’t express the amount of time it takes to build that trust. Devastated w/the texts I’m getting asking if this is ok. No. Never.”
“Young reporters: This is not normal or ethical,” wrote ESPN college sideline reporter Molly McGrath. “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.”
Thompson later took to her Instagram page to “address the elephant in the room.”
“I have a responsibility to myself and my employers to clarify what is being reported,” she wrote in a statement. “When on a podcast this week, I said I would make up reports early in my career when I worked as a sideline reporter before I transitioned to my current host role.”
“Working in media I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation. I’m sorry,” she continued. “I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster. 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 instance if a team was 0 for 7 on 3rd down, that would clearly be an area they need to improve in the second half. In these instances I never attributed anything I said to a player or coach,” she claimed. “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.”
“I was like, ‘Oh coach, what adjustments are you gonna make at halftime?’ He goes, ‘That’s a great perfume you’re wearing,'” Thompson recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh f**k, this isn’t gonna work.’ I’m not kidding, I made up a report.”
At the time, Andrews also admitted to once making up a report in order to not throw an NFL coach “under the bus.”
Thompson is no longer a sideline reporter, but still involved with NFL broadcasts. She currently hosts Fox NFL Kickoff, the pregame show for Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football presentation, as well as FS1’s NFL Films Presents.