Until late on Friday we’ve heard everyone’s opinion on Josina Anderson’s controversial Michael Sam report except the reporter herself. Finally in the late afternoon on Friday* Anderson released a statement through ESPN’s PR website giving her side of the story.
* The timing is interesting from ESPN considering late Friday afternoon news dumps on holiday weekends is a favored tactic for trying to release unflattering/negative news publicly in the hopes of causing as little damage as possible. That may not be the case here, but again, the timing is interesting at the very least.
In her statement, Anderson talks about the backlash to the report as well as how she will try to understand the viewpoints that have been expressed this week on why the report was insensitive.
However, in what is something of a surprise, there’s really no apology here, no backtracking, and no regrets expressed from Anderson herself over the report on Michael Sam not showering with teammates. ESPN said they regretted the report, but that sentiment really doesn’t leap out of Anderson’s statement. In fact, Anderson defends her reporting and journalistic practices (perhaps in response to Jeff Fisher’s damning critiques) in her remarks…
I wanted to take this opportunity to say I understand the vast and varying perspectives regarding our Michael Sam report. I’m particularly sensitive to those who feel the content therein worked to perpetuate stereotypes surrounding the LGBT community, or was just overall insensitive. In all humility, I truly understand these viewpoints and have taken time to reflect on how our story had this unintended consequence. To Michael Sam, I truly empathize with and respect your journey thus far on many different levels. Ultimately, I’ve always believed making a professional sports roster should and will come down to production.
In my role as reporter, it’s also important for me to emphasize that I highly value accuracy and in this case gathered facts using well-accepted journalistic standards. I can also appreciate that there are always lessons to be gained in any situation regardless of experience or tenure.
As I move on, I look forward to leading off ESPN’s regular-season NFL coverage next week and I appreciate their continued support.
Respectfully and with well-intentions,