Mike Silva's Sports Media Watchdog » Blog Archive » Erin Andrews Pioneering All That’s Wrong With the Sideline

Erin Andrews Pioneering All That’s Wrong With the Sideline

By Mike Silva ~ October 23rd, 2012. Filed under: ESPN, FOX.


Samantha Steele has responded to my  criticism by pointing out I erred in listing what jobs she actually holds at ESPN.

I pride myself in admitting when I make a mistake, although this is what is listed under her bio at Wikipedia and at other sources I referenced.

Of course, that isn’t the point of the story nor does it change my opinion on how sideline reporting really has become something more about looks and entertainment and less about reporting.

As Richard Deitsch said in his recent Sports Illustrated column  “the job (sideline reporting)  is an odd mix of sports knowledge and sex appeal, journalism and entertainment.”

Deitsch is correct in his description I am not sure why sex appeal is anywhere in that equation, but that is just me.

Original Post

If you tuned in to Game 7 between the Giants and Cardinals, you got a chance to see FOX’s prized 2012 acquisition: Erin Andrews.

The former ESPN reporter’s Wikipedia profile describes her as an American sportscaster, journalist, and television personality. It has two of the three wrong and the one that is right- television personality- she isn’t even very good at.

I will preface this by saying I have issues with Andrews and how she handled her peeping incident of a few years ago. She has come across self-righteous about that unfortunate situation, and constantly seems to take offense to being considered a sex object. This despite the fact she participated in the TV series “Dancing With the Stars” right after her peeping incident occurred. Someone that is so incredulous over the invasion of her privacy doesn’t dress skimpy and flirt on national television.

Dancing with the Stars aside, my real issue with Andrews is how far she has set females in the sports world back. Regardless of how progressive you want to be, professional sports are dominated by males. Women have made strides in the media, but they still largely have to struggle to gain credibility with their analysis. I find this criticism fair since many female reporters have yet to distinguish themselves for their work. Andrews has pioneered a group that uses sports as a means to transition into the entertainment world. The problem is their sexuality stands out in the sports forum because of its male dominated nature. Once they go mainstream it becomes difficult because there is always someone better looking or more connected. It’s easy for Andrews to look good when she interviews Giants’ GM Brian Sabean. Not as easy when she is on the red carpet with Hollywood luminaries.

I don’t understand where Andrews fits into the FOX broadcast. Ken Rosenthal – a well respected journalist- has been doing the sideline for years. He continues to do so, but now splits time with Andrews. I am not expecting any hard-hitting analysis from the sideline, but if you are going to interfere with the game make it worth my while. Andrews telling us in the 8th inning of last night’s game how much she likes Brian Wilson – another attention starved individual – is unnecessary; doubly so when it’s Game 7. Add in how she struggles with pronouncing certain words (it was painful hearing the bumbling of the titles of the Giants’ front office during the trophy presentation) and you have yourself a very mediocre performance. She was an annoying sideshow when she covered college sports. She is a fish out of water in the pro ranks. Does anyone think that MLB will get additional ratings because of her? That is, unless there is an influx of college students looking to take a cold shower.

Maybe my problem is that I am old school. Give me Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola in the booth without a sideline reporter and I will be fine. Of course, the production of the game is more about the FOX suits than the viewers. The bells and whistles are for the industry to evaluate in the ivory tower. Me-ism reigns in media from the boardroom all the way down to the talent on the field. Narcissism isn’t in short supply.

Just days ago SMW contributor Jed Weisberger sang the praises of Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network. He believes she did a fine job this season giving the fans information and a feel of the game. Ultimately, that is what you should expect from the position. I believe her predecessor, Kim Jones, has been one of the best at that position. Who can forgot how she would make Joe Torre cringe with her questions about in-game moves. Sideline reporting should be a combination of journalism, entertainment and analysis. To date, Jones has been one of the few sidelines reporters- male or female- to provide that balance.

Andrews has left a legacy. No, it’s not anything she reported on the field, but that her very own “mini-me” is now making some moves at her old employer. Samantha Steele, currently a reporter/host for the Longhorn Network, as well as ESPN’s college football, basketball and the NFL, made news last week for her relationship with Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder. You can’t tell someone who they should date, but any journalism ethics class will say dating your subjects is a media faux pas. Did she get into this industry to have a career or find a husband? Her protégé never had an issue with conflicts of interest. Until ESPN implemented an endorsement guideline, Andrews was a spokeswomen for Reebok.

Should I be surprised? Of course not. This is par for the course in an era where ESPN has turned the sideline into a breeding ground for America’s next top model. Or better yet, a wannabe version.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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