No sports journalist has ever enjoyed „Coach Speak.“ This annoyance can turn to anger if another journalist is the reason you are hearing „Coach Speak“ when you ask a question. We’ll never know if that happened when New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll didn’t tell Pam Oliver that he benched Tommy DeVito for Tyrod Taylor after halftime on Christmas. But it’s more than fair to question whether that was recently the case with Charissa Thompson and Erin Andrews.
DeVito had been the darling of New York football for weeks. For some reason, people found it cool that an adult man was still living at home with his parents while his mother cooked his food, made his bed, and did his laundry. Another reason is that he’s the football version of „Linsanity,“ as he was a hit among Giants fans after replacing the injured Daniel Jones. But after playing 9 for 16 for 55 yards and trailing 20-3 at halftime, he was benched.
„I was just trying to fire up the team,“ Daboll said of his decision during the post-game press conference. „I have nothing more to add. I did it just to try to fire up the team.“
Daboll announced on Wednesday that Tyrod Taylor will start against the Rams on Sunday.
However, it’s not about what Daboll said after the game. It’s about what he didn’t say. And I wonder if what Thompson and Andrews said was at the back of their minds. It’s speculation, but it’s also fair game.
„Pam, this is news to all of us when we see Tyrod Taylor replacing Tommy DeVito at halftime. What did you find out?“ Fox’s Joe Davis asked Oliver after the quarterback change report from Terrible Announcing.
„Well, I had a nice chat with Brian Daboll—he kept it from me,“ Oliver said. „But it turns out it’s just a coach’s decision. I guess he’s not happy with DeVito’s performance. DeVito is still throwing and warming up on the sidelines, but he’s out.“
„The very first comment from some idiot said, ‚I’ve said this before, so I wasn’t fired for it, but I’ll say it again. Sometimes, I made up the report because A., the coach, didn’t come out at halftime or it was too late, and I thought, I didn’t want to botch the report, so I said, I’ll just make this up,'“ Thompson revealed last month on a podcast.
Thompson also revealed on another podcast that she fabricated a report about a Detroit Lions game in 2008. Andrews added, „I’ve done that too,“ for „a coach who I didn’t want to throw under the bus because he told me all the wrong things!“
This is what happens when your privilege gives you the confidence to be narcissistically brazen about being bad at your job because you know you won’t lose your job.
Andrews‘ spokesperson released a statement about „accuracy.“ Thompson wrote, „During my time as a sports reporter, I have never lied or acted unethically about anything,“ on Instagram.
The damage was done. People were rightfully upset, and some will remain so for a long time. In a world where a former president has turned the term „Fake News“ into a lazy slur when people disagree with or want to undermine facts—a difficult task has become even more difficult.
But here’s the kicker: Andrews was the one who replaced Oliver as FOX’s top sideline reporter in 2014.
„It’s not hard to recognize that the new on-air people there are all young, blonde, and ‚hot.‘ That’s not to say Erin couldn’t handle it. I think she’s very capable. She’s also popular on Twitter and social media, so I can imagine that she’d be much sought after because of that,“ Oliver wrote in an essay for Essence Magazine. „Still, it’s a big deal to cover the NFL. Networks like ABC and NBC trust their programs to veterans. So when people talk about all networks turning to a certain type of girl at the sideline, it’s not without merit.“
When Brian Daboll decides who will start on Sunday, I hope he breaks the news to Pam Oliver.