SBD/Issue 219/Sports Media

Erin Andrews Responds To Column Questioning Her Behavior, Dress

Andrews Defends Her Work After Columnist
Questions Her Behavior, Wardrobe
ESPN's Erin Andrews Saturday responded to a column by GateHouse News Service's Mike Nadel that criticized Andrews for a "number of things, including her interactions with players and how she was dressed," by saying it is "really sad that in 2008 ... I have people watching every single move I make," according to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Nadel made the criticisms following Wednesday's Cubs-Brewers game, which Andrews covered for ESPN. Andrews said, "These players are not into me like that. If anything, I think these guys look at me like a little sister or one of the guys. ... I don't look at myself as a sex object. I've never carried myself in that way. I'm a girl that loves sports. I'm a tomboy. That's the last thing on my mind when I'm in the clubhouse -- worrying about players checking me out." Andrews is "adamant that she does not flaunt anything other than her professional talent in pursuit of doing the best job possible." Andrews indicated that she "will not dress differently or act differently now than she did before." ESPN Exec VP/Studio & Remote Production Norby Williamson said in a statement, "Erin is a tremendous reporter. She's a prepared and a hard-working journalist, who is well respected and asks excellent questions. We're proud to have her as an important part of our coverage team." Andrews: "I thought at some point we were all past this. I'm not going to change. I can't change. ESPN puts me on the best games not because of the way I look, but because they trust me. ... The cool thing for me is that I trust ESPN with everything I have. I think that if I was conducting myself in a wrong manner, this would have been an issue a long time ago" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 8/2). Andrews added she had "never been attacked like this before. There are also naysayers on sideline reporters, but I never thought they'd take my dress and how players respond to me." Andrews said that after four years of reporting, she is "old news to players and 'the whole sex object thing doesn't even come up'" (USA TODAY, 8/4).

WHERE IT STARTED: Nadel originally wrote of Andrews, "Her skimpy outfit -- designed to accentuate her, um, positives -- had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under their breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds." Nadel reported as Andrews spoke to Cubs players before the game, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, "Hey, hey, hey! Look at this! Are you doing a baseball game today or a modeling assignment?" Nadel: "Fair question. I have seen Andrews at many events in recent years and this was the first time I had witnessed anything quite like this, which is why it seemed so bizarre. Did she really feel playing the sexpot was necessary to practice journalism?" (GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 7/31). Nadel discussed the column in an e-mail Q&A with DEADSPIN's A.J. Daulerio and said, "I was expecting to write a baseball column Wednesday. But as the scenario unfolded in the clubhouse, I began to notice -- it would have been impossible for me not to have." Nadel said when Piniella addressed Andrews, "I realized that pretty much everybody was thinking exactly what I was thinking. In my mind, that made it a viable angle. (I also bounced the idea off my editor to make sure it worked)." Daulerio asked if Andrews "were not attractive, wearing that dress, showing that much leg, etc. and had still interacted with the players in a similar fashion do you think you would've found it objectionable enough to be column worthy?" Nadel: "Almost surely not. What made me even think of the column was the way the athletes and manager responded to Andrews" (DEADSPIN.com, 8/1).

REAX: ONMILWAUKEE.com's Drew Olson, who also covered the Cubs-Brewers game, wrote of Andrews' appearance in the Brewers clubhouse, "I didn't directly hear any lewd comments from players, but Erin Andrews' outfit did draw a lot of attention and generate comments." As "sideline reporters go, Erin Andrews is a competent professional. It's not her fault that she is both attractive and a pop culture icon." But "you wonder if the folks at ESPN may talk to Andrews privately about her choice of wardrobe" (ONMILWAUKEE.com, 8/2). THE BIG LEAD writes, "Erin, here’s a bit of a newsflash: If you want to be perceived as a professional, you dress professionally" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/4). In Orlando, Shannon Owens wrote, "Andrews has reached Britney Spears-like celebrity status in the sports world. She has a cultlike fan base that follows every crease in her pants and stitch of her blouse. Her attractiveness undoubtedly makes her a target of inappropriate behavior" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/2). But in Chicago, Joe Cowley wrote, "Seriously, what is becoming of this profession when a girl can't wear a summer skirt to a baseball game without offending someone?" (SUNTIMES.com, 8/1).

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