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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sports reporter blindsided by ethics uproar


Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sports reporter blindsided by ethics uproar

Dec 09, 2023 | 6:00 am ET
By Celia Rivenbark
Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sports reporter blindsided by ethics uproar
Humor columnist Celia Rivenbark says the frequent testiness of football coaches like former LSU head man Ed Orgeron likely contributed to Fox Sports reporter Charissa Thompson's questionable sideline reporting choices. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hello! I’m Charissa Thompson.

Some of you may know me from my years as a Fox Sports sideline reporter during some pretty big pro football games where I ask tough questions like: “Coach, you’re down two touchdowns. What’re you going to tell the guys to do differently when the second half starts?”

That’s one of my favorites. Funny thing, the coaches usually act like they’d rather be anywhere else in the world than talking to me out there on the field which is weird because I’m actually kinda hot and they’re mostly older and kinda craggy and paunchy so you’d think they’d LOVE to be seen with me…

Anywho, we only have a few seconds before they mumble something about how the guys need to take better care of the football or should be making more tackles and fewer penalties and…sorry. Is he still talking? It’s so boring until I can finally say: “Thanks, Coach! Back to you in the studio, Jim! Pro tip: It’s always Jim so you’re safe in saying that.

I mean sideline reporting isn’t exactly rocket surgery. So, I’m not sure why everybody and his mother is so upset about me admitting that, well, sometimes I made up stuff the coach said to me in the locker room or wherever because maybe he was busy and I had a job to do and so I just kinda put words in his mouth. It was really sort of a favor. If he doesn’t want to talk, it works better if you just imagine what he might have said and just make something up that sounds Coachy. It’s football. Nobody’s over here splittin’ atoms.

Hey, you want to know a little secret? Sometimes if nobody wants to talk to me, I just put on this big floppy hat and some Jackie O sunglasses and I go get me some Dippin’ Dots and a Michelob Ultra at the half. I mean do I really need to hang around outside the trainers’ room to find out if that wide receiver’s ankle is sprained or broken? Nah. You don’t have to be Meredith flippin’ Grey to know he ain’t coming back for the rest of the season. If I tell you a player’s got a concussion, there’s a 50 percent chance that’s true. I mean he just took a hit that basically knocked him all the way into premier parking so, yeah, he’s probably got a concussion. You’re welcome.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t trust anything I tell you. Plenty of times, in fact most of the time I really do get an interview. But other times? Yeah, it’s all about the Dippin’ Dots baby.

People ask me if I regret admitting I made up quotes from the coaches sometimes and I gotta say, boy howdy, I sure do.

I had no idea this was going to blow up so big. I mean, I’ve said it before and apparently nobody was paying attention. My fellow female sideline reporters have turned on me saying I’ve set them back by failing to have journalistic integrity. Whatever the crap THAT is. They say they’ve spent years building trust and breaking down barriers and now people assume we’re all the same.

Look, sometimes you do stuff you’re not proud of. But I’m not a monster like that lady who said she had cancer and got millions from a GoFundMe. Perspective people!

It’s football! Although I have to admit, I think covering politics wouldn’t be unlike covering sports so maybe I’ll ask for a transfer to Fox’s news division. I could use a do-over and if I worked there, I could learn from real she-roes of journalism like Kayleigh McEnany and Jeanine Pirro. With mentors like that I’ll gain back the respect of…OK, never mind. I need another plan. Back to you Jim.