Reporter Charissa Thompson Clarifies Making Up Sideline Stories

Charissa Thompson has clarified the “elephant in the room” regarding her comments about embellishing NFL sideline reports.

“I have a responsibility to myself and my employers to clarify what is being reported,” Thompson, 41, wrote in an Instagram Story statement on Friday, November 17. “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.”

Thompson added: “Working in media, I understand how important words are and I chose the wrong words to describe the situation. I’m sorry. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster.”

Thompson went on the“Pardon My Take” podcast on Wednesday, November 15, revealing that she occasionally fabricated her broadcasts.

“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,” she said.  “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 gonna make this up.’”

On Friday, Thompson explained that she crafted her TV report based on what she “learned and saw” during the first half of the game in the “absence” of a coach providing any commentary. “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,” she said in her social media statement. “In these instances, I never attributed anything I said to a player or coach.”

Charissa Thompson
Anna Webber/Getty Images for On Location

Thompson concluded: “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.”

Thompson has been a FOX Sports journalist since 2008. As a sideline reporter, Thompson often gets on-the-field interviews with the athletes and coaches. She also cohosts her “Calm Down” podcast with fellow reporter Erin Andrews, where they discuss their lives and careers.

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On “Pardon My Take,” Thompson asserted that most NFL coaches would not be upset with how she covered the game.

“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,’” she quipped. “Like, they’re not gonna correct me on that.”

Thompson first admitted on a January 2022 episode of her “Calm Down” podcast that she fabricated reports when she covered Detroit Lions games.

“I was like ‘Coach, what adjustments are you gonna make at halftime?’ He goes, ‘That’s a great perfume you’re wearing,’” she told Andrews, now 45, on their podcast at the time. “I was like, ‘Oh f—k, this isn’t gonna work.’ I’m not kidding, I made up a report.”

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