Charissa Thompson of Fox Sports Live had a wide-ranging interview at Sports Illustrated this week that touched on a number of topics including Fox Sports Live’s ratings, colleague Katie Nolan’s thoughts on women in sports media (she didn’t necessarily agree with Nolan’s take), and Thompson’s long road to an on-air position.  Her journey to Fox Sports Live and being one of the most recognizable women working in sports media is one that more people should know because of the work Thompson put in over a number of years.

What was perhaps most interesting was just how honest and open Thompson was on a variety of topics.  Thompson gave insights that are well above-average when it comes to the machinations of working in sports and the happenings behind the scenes at Fox Sports 1.  One of those topics was her relationship with Michelle Beadle.  Thompson succeeded Beadle at SportsNation and mentioned the tension that existed between the two (even referencing Beadle’s longtime feud with Erin Andrews).  The Fox host took it upon herself to bury the hatchet with Beadle at this year’s ESPYs…

You mentioned you made peace with Michelle Beadle at the ESPYs. Why did that moment need to exist?

I’ll be honest with you and age has done this to me. I don’t have time to waste beating around the bush. I’m not so worried about popularity and how many votes I’m getting in Miss Congeniality. I am who I am and I’m very comfortable with who I am. It is taken me time with that and being comfortable with that. I haven’t done everything right, but I am the first to stand up and say that is my bad and I apologize and move forward. Michelle and Erin [who Thompson is very close with] had some weird beef and I don’t know where it came from. It totally preceded me. That is their thing. Michelle was cool to me when I showed up at ESPN and then I felt it sort of shifted and all of a sudden she did not like me. I don’t know what the inception of that was, nor did I care to ask, or care that much about her personally to even bother going next level. It felt like high school. Why don’t you like me? Well, I’m over that sh–. I’m here to do a job, go to work, leave and if you want to be part of my life, great. If not, whatever.

So there was a weird tension between her and I and when the SportsNation thing happened, it perpetuated it for whatever reason. But I was sick of showing up to events, having her be there, and having everyone around me be like, “Oh, God, are you okay?” So at the ESPYs, we were at a sushi restaurant and I was with Stephen A. Smith and Jamie Horowitz and some other people. She walked in and everyone got weird again. So I walked over to her and said hello.

At the ESPYs the next day, I talked to her and said I’m not sure what this is all about. I’m not interested in being friends with her, but I’m just not interested in having weird tension. She can still have an opinion of me and think I am whatever I am and I’m all good with that. But what I did not want was to continue to have this weird thing going on because I am pretty cool with most women in this industry. So if there is a tension — and I am not going around handing out valentines to everyone — I just did not like how contentious things got and how awkward things were every time we were in the same room. For me and for the maturation within in myself, I said “Dude, I’m sorry, we’re good, let’s move on.” I am different than I used to be and I have to raise my hand if I have done something or hurt someone’s feelings. I have no problem apologizing, but that was one where I did not even know where it came from. So instead of continuing down that road, I wanted to be over it. 

My overall theme is happiness. I have settled into who I am. I am learning and growing every day. I have made mistakes, but I hope that I can look back at the road I have traveled and appreciate how far I’ve come and that I have a long way to go. I am thankful of my life. I understand my job doesn’t define who I am, but as I go to bed each night I count my blessings not my troubles because I am lucky to do what I do. But what I do is not who I am. If my parents are proud of me, that’s when I have done my real job.

There’s plenty more honesty and openness in the Thompson interview which is certainly worth the read.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.