A Tempest In A Teapot

The tempest in a teapot from late last week seems to be quieting down for now.  Charissa Thompson dared to reveal that at times in her days as a sideline reporter, she sometimes made up quotes from coaches who did not or would not talk to her going into or out of halftime.  The reactions to such revelations were predictably over the top.

Journalists immediately recoiled in horror at the word “fabrication”. What most real sports journalists failed to take into consideration is the simple fact that sideline reporters are no more “journalists” than they are “unicyclists”.  Sideline reporters are entertainers; the only “news they break” involves on-field injuries.  None of their on-air interviews before/during/after the games amounts to a dram of doggy dooty.

  • Interview just before opening kickoff = “Coach, what do you need to do today to come away with a win?”  Response should = “Score more points than they do.”
  • Interview as teams leave the field for halftime = “Coach, you gave up 225 yards rushing in the first half, what do you need to do to rectify that?”  Response should = “We have to tackle the guy with the ball sooner.”
  • Interview as teams come back from halftime = “Coach, what was your message to your team in the locker room?””  Response should = “Well, I can’t really say that on the air, but I told them they need to play a lot better?”
  • Interview after the game = “Coach, so how does it feel to come out of here with a win?”  Response should = “Lots better than if we had lost, but a win is a win, and we’ll have to put this behind us and get ready for next week starting tomorrow morning.”

How’s that for hard-hitting reporting …?

  • [Aside:  I will exclude from the above condemnation of sideline reporting the work done by the folks who were on the field reporting during the Damar Hamlin event last year.  Those folks provided real information and real reporting.  If you cannot tell the difference between what those reporters did and what is generally the content of sideline reporting “on any given Sunday”, I will never have the time and space to explain it to you.]

Other sideline reporters took great umbrage at such a revelation saying over and over again that they had never done anything of the sort, nor would they ever do so even to save the life of their firstborn.  This is purely a personal reaction to such weeping and wailing but methinks those other reporters do protest too much.  I have maintained for years that networks could save money by eliminating the position of “sideline reporter” and not lose a single audience participant.  I have been watching NFL football on television for about 70 years now and I can say with certainty that I have never tuned into or out of a telecast based on who the sideline reporter was or was not.

In this era of hyper-political correctness in speech, it is not de rigueur to suggest that more than a few sideline reporters are there as much for their eye-candy value as for anything else.  For those who take offense here just let me say that a guilty conscience needs no accusations…

And speaking of political incorrectness, a high school football coach in Georgia has been terminated from his coaching job for reasons that do not relate to his won/lost record and there are no allegations that he had any sort of illicit relationship with any of his players.  What he did was simply out of phase with societal norms in the US in 2023.

  • After a practice one day, the coach held a Christian baptism session for some of the players on the team.

Not surprisingly, that event drew protest from outside the school district and the powers that be there decided to fire the coach – – and at the same time covering a flank by declaring that the firing had to do with matters other than the baptism event.

Let me be clear; what this coach did was not some sort of heinous behavior that endangered his community.  What he did was so unbelievably tone deaf regarding the way people react to such things in the US in 2023.  It is hard to imagine that the coach intended any harm to anyone participating in the ceremony, but it is equally difficult to imagine that he did not anticipate the reaction that followed from the ceremony.

Moving on …  Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes as the CFL Gray Cup Champion for 2023; they beat the Winipeg Blue Bombers 28-24 last weekend.  Montreal was a big underdog in the game with the line closing at Winnipeg – 9 points.  The Bombers led 24-21 late in the 4th quarter but the Alouettes scored a TD on a final drive with less than two minutes left in the game to secure the win.  This is the first Gray Cup victory for Montreal since 2010; this is the fourth season in a row where the Blue Bombers have been the Western division representative in the Gray Cup Game.

Finally, apropos of nothing, I will close with this entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Materialism:  A belief that gaining more and more possessions will eventually provide one with happiness.  Of all personal belief systems, this one is the most fun to try and prove wrong.”

But don t get me wrong, I love sports………



7 thoughts on “A Tempest In A Teapot”

  1. For this comment I am in charge sports for an imaginary TV network. I have millions of young men watching other young men play football on Saturdayafternoons. So do the other two networks. Hay, why not find a very attractive young woman, have her show some cleavage, and put her on the sideline interviewing those young men who are playing football. It might lure some eyeballs to my network and won’t cost much.

    1. Doug:

      Even if I accept your premise that some folks will tune in to see eye-candy and cleavage for about 3 random minutes of a 4-hour telecast, let me suggest that putting on a better football game than the other two networks will draw far more eyeballs to your imaginary TV network.

  2. I am surprised that you give such little regard to the numerous societal and family boundaries that are being transcended by an entitled individual whose “faith” seems to give him permission not to “stay in his lane” to the job he was entrusted to do. If he’s so concerned about his players’ eternal welfare, why does he limit his concern to them and not simply drive around town with a water pistol or fire hose and “baptize” everybody?
    In my opinion, his transgression is far greater than simply being oblivious to the potential kickback to his actions

    1. Used to be you hired a football coach for football knowledge. Now they are evangelists also.
      I want an X’s and O’s guy not Jerry Falwell.

      1. willie jones:

        You need not worry about having Jerry Falwell as your football coach – – unless your team is playing in the Celestial Football League…

    2. Jess:

      I agree that the coach went far beyond the boundaries of his lane; there is no justifying what he chose to do here. I have no problem whatsoever with the decision to fire him for his actions.

      I am also able to keep a separate thought in my head simultaneously. I doubt that he intended any harm to any of the kids who underwent the baptismal ceremony nor that he intended harm to the other kids who chose not to participate.

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