Josina Anderson issues statement through ESPN

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The Labor Day weekend NFL bad news dump was highlighted by Aldon Smith’s nine-game suspension and a plea deal for Colts owner Jim Irsay.  Buried even deeper in the pre-three-day-weekend flurry of things everyone hopes we’ll forget about by Tuesday was a statement from ESPN’s Josina Anderson regarding the Michael Sam shower habits report.

Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing spotted the 5:08 p.m. ET statement on the ESPN P.R. site.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to say I understand the vast and varying perspectives regarding our Michael Sam report,” Anderson said.  “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.”

Bristol has been suspension-happy in recent weeks, from the well-deserved Stephen A. Smith suspension to the possibly deserved Max Kellerman suspension to the completely unjustified Dan Le Batard suspension.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Anderson has not been suspended for her role in the report that left many bewildered and Rams coach Jeff Fisher pissed off.

While reasonable minds may differ on whether an apology is needed from Anderson, the statement includes no apology to the Rams, to Fisher, or to Sam.  In fact, some (including Fisher) could interpret the portion of the statement defending the gathering of facts as an expression of defiance.

But the reporting isn’t the issue.  It’s the content of the story.  Regardless of how the information was obtained and whether the information presented is accurate from a journalistic standpoint, the story isn’t a story unless the story is that Michael Sam truly is not comfortable in the locker room, supported by something far more tangible than scattered speculation that Sam may or may not be showering with teammates either because Same may or may not be doing something else at the time or because he may or may not be comfortable or because he may or may not want to make teammates uncomfortable.  Absent clear proof of actual discomfort for Sam or teammates in the locker room, “He’s one of the guys” is all anyone needs to report.

And that makes the first sentence of the statement a little confusing.  Are there “vast and varying perspectives” on the Michael Sam report?  Or is there only one perspective — the one that prompted ESPN to issue multiple apologies?

27 responses to “Josina Anderson issues statement through ESPN

  1. The Max Kellerman suspension was pretty lame from what I know of it. They basically suspended the guy for bringing up a personal story on the air because he related it to the Ray Rice case. That’s kind of stupid. I already pretty much hate ESPN, but trying to be thought police as well when the guy only said what actually happened in his own life is disgusting.

  2. Sounds like Josina needs to be suspended back down to Earth to help her figure out what responsible reporting is. If you aren’t going to apologize for the story, then you shouldn’t comment on it any further at all.

  3. She could have written a much shorter and much more honest explanation by simply admitting she doesn’t get how stupid and worthless her report was. She thinks she nailed it and stirred controversy that peaked conversation…in reality she just said stupid things that no one cared about in the first place and still don’t.

  4. I think her report was good color.

    That’s the first question any straight man would ask with a gay teammate.

    It seems like Sam is respecting his teammates’ space and not forcing the issue. I’m sure an extra hour in the weight room doesn’t hurt either.

  5. She needs to be suspended, truthfully her reporting is weak at best. Firing would not be off the plate, but no one wants to see another loose their job for stupidity. Did I say that…truth is this is typical ESPN of late, which makes their product just plain bogus!

  6. josina is not a cat with 9 lives and i have usually been on her side with regard to her reporting but this strayed and now she has no more lives in my book if her reporting strays again i will change the channel when she speaks so she got one strike as far as i’m concerned now get back to work josina and don’t screw up again!!

  7. Translation:

    “I tried to make this a story, and that irritated people, but hey, lighten up, I was just doing my job.”

    “Vast and varying perspectives” is the equivalent of the ubiquitous and half-assed “Some say”, which basically means “Well, someone somewhere has probably expressed this opinion, but we didn’t talk to ’em, but in the interest of false equivalency, we’re giving oxygen to the competing viewpoint”.

    Either have a story, or don’t. Either stand by it and shut up, or don’t, and apologize for it. This statement did neither, and was unprofessional.

  8. It would seem that while everyone else has dealt with whatever they needed to to accept the fact that the NFL now has an openly gay player and moved on – ESPN hasn’t and from the sound of the non-apology, still hasn’t even started the journey.

  9. In what universe is a players showering habits news or a “story” that people are interested in or that needs to be reported?

    No one cares about the showering habits of football players. Singling out Sam in this regard and creating a story from scratch (there was no story or comment this builds on, it is a non-issue brought up wholly by the “reporter”) because he is gay is both pathetic and unprofessional.

    Anderson is an attractive woman that gets to hang around athletes, if someone started asking players if she was a gold digger that was looking to hook up with athletes that would pretty much be the equivalent to her “reporting”….and would be just as uninteresting to everyone and just as offensive to much of the population.

  10. I saw nothing wrong with the report. She wasnt making a mockery out of Michael Sam. I think she was pointing out Michael Sam’s manners so that none of his teammates would feel uncomfortable.

    I seriously dont undersand this countrys and media standards. This isnt Russia last time i checked. Im so sick of people having to apologize for everything that the media deems inappropriate when 99.9% of things people are made to apologize for, an apology isnt necessary.

    Ladt time I checked this is a free country with allegedly free speech. Speech isnt free anymore because when you say something people dont like, you pay one way or the other.

  11. It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder how Sam’s teammates are handling sharing a locker room and showers with a gay man. Good for Sam for going the extra mile to not create an issue.

    But under standard sexual harassment law, making straight men disrobe in front of a gay man is similar to requiring straight women to disrobe in front of straight men. Outside a strip club that wouldn’t fly legally.

  12. Why should she apologize for doing a report that espn sent her there to do? It’s a stupid, unimportant story but espn is pushing the narrative, not her. Not much journalistic freedom over there at espn.

  13. She is an idiot. She thought that she could get to the top of the ladder with her ill advised “breaking story.”

    She needs to feel the consequences of her actions.

  14. The next time she tries to interview a player, I think each and everyone should voluntarily give her their shower habits and then ask her what hers are and see if she understands it then.

  15. I think that really convoluted non-apology came with a serious hair flip as well.

    Followed by, “Whatever…”

    And I love the “To Michael Sam” bit. I’m not sure she could be more patronizing if she tried.

  16. It was an irresponsible & overly intrusive story that should have never been allowed by ESPN. How would ESPN like it if there was a story on one of their gay employees’ ‘showering habits’ & if that person (or other employees who are not gay) feels uncomfortable about it? ESPN has stooped to a new low & I don’t blame Fisher for being pissed off.

    On top of everything that statement she made was meaningless. In fact it seemed like she was defending her journalistic integrity. She made no apology for crossing the line.

  17. another insincere apology to placate the 10 angry people.

    why not throw her higher ups under the bus for enabling an atmosphere where menial trivial reporting is asked of their correspondents.

    i believe she was ok’d to air the story because she is a minority herself, it just didnt work well now did it

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