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Sports Reporting: That Andrews Sister

By Brian P. Dunleavy
May 21, 2012

I regret every time I click on the link.

I’m never happy with what I see or read. Yet, I can’t help myself. It’s like “news porn.”

The link in question is the “Trending Now” Top 10 on Yahoo and, Monday morning, Erin Andrews, the ESPN sideline reporter for college football and basketball, was number one. I couldn’t help myself. I had to know why.

It’s not just that, like all red-blooded, sports-watching American males, I find Andrews attractive. I do. I mean, what’s not to like? But, as the years go by, I have also become increasingly dismayed by and a bit obsessed with how ESPN has “presented” Andrews, who, in addition to being attractive, is darn good at her job.

Saturdays generally find her standing in front of a mob of implicitly drunk frat boys screaming at the top of their lungs. Weather permitting, she is usually wearing a tank top. Frequently, the camera will pan to a frat boy holding a sign that reads, “Erin, will you marry me?” or something to that effect. And we couch potatoes at home laugh and laugh and think to ourselves, “My, isn’t that precious?”—or, perhaps, something far worse.

In making Andrews a sex symbol to the 18-34 male demographic—the holy grail of broadcast advertising—ESPN has literally put her life at risk. A couple of years ago, the intrepid sideline reporter had a stalker on her hands. While she was on assignment somewhere in the Midwest, the creep actually rigged up a special camera to capture images of her, nude, through the peephole in her hotel room door. He posted the photos on the Internet.

The thing is Andrews hasn’t helped her cause any either in the credibility department. She has appeared in photo shoots for multiple national magazines—actually posing, on these occasions—in various stages of undress (although, in fairness, never nude, or anything really close to it). Her work and her looks have given her celebrity status and, as such, she gets the red-carpet treatment at major, non-sports related events (such as the CMT Awards). She’s also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On Monday, she was trending on Yahoo because she is rumored to be dating a TV star eight years her junior (you go, girl).

Of course, Andrews can do what she wants. And when talking celebrities (and that’s what she is now; the mantle “journalist” is long gone at this point), we must always remember fame is fleeting. You have to make hay while the sun shines.

But just this once I had hoped to see a woman rise through the sports journalism ranks on her merits (double entendre not intended) rather than her Q-rating, with integrity and credibility. Unfortunately, Lesley Visser and Robin Roberts aside, the glass ceiling remains.

Andrews clearly has the talent and intellect to break through. Apparently, she has chosen not to, if her career choices are any indication. Last time I checked, we haven’t seen Brent Musburger, Joe Buck or Al Michaels—or any of Andrews’ other male peers in sports broadcasting—posing for scantily clad, pin-up pics.

And trust me, they—not to mention all of us—are better off for it.

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About the author: Brian P. Dunleavy is a writer who lives in New York.

Email: bpdunleavy@yahoo.com



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