Charissa Thompson has some experience roaming the NFL sideline. She pulled back the curtain for viewers during an interview with Pardon My Take on Thursday in regards to the sideline interview with a team's head coach either before or after halftime.
Thompson informed PFT Commenter and Dan Katz that sometimes she would simply make up those interviews. For a variety of reasons. If a coach didn't want to talk or there wasn't time to grab him before he got to the sideline or the broadcast came back quicker than the team, Thompson said she would just make something up to give the audience.
“I've said this before, I haven't been fired for saying it but I'll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes 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'. 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 getting off the field.’ They’re not going to correct me on that, so I’m like, ‘It’s fine, I’ll just make up the report.’”
I would like to note first and foremost that just because you haven't gotten fired for saying something does not mean you're good to say it. I would imagine that her former and current bosses would prefer this little tidbit kept behind closed doors, even if it is not a fireable offense.
Because it is, objectively, a bad look. No journalist should ever be making up stuff. It doesn't matter if a coach would get mad for putting words in his mouth, journalists simply should not do that. Under any circumstances. And certainly not to give an audience of millions some coachspeak BS about converting on third downs or whatever. Those interviews are not so important that a reporter should feel pressured to make something up on the spot if they couldn't get the interview. There needs to be some integrity, even if the interview itself is a bit of a sham anyway.
Thompson is no longer doing sideline work as Amazon tapped her to host their pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage each Thursday. But if she ever ends up giving a report on a halftime chat with a coach again, people will remember this.