JEFF PEARLMAN

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Erin Andrews and journalistic standards: A bad match

So Erin Andrews, ESPN’s sideline reporter/resident celebrity, has signed on with Reebok to endorse the company’s new shoe, the ZigTech (whatever the hell that is). On her Twitter profile photo, Andrews actually had the sneaker balanced on her arm (she changed it recently).

As noted in The Oregonian recently, while covering the Rose Bowl game between TCU and Wisconsin, Andrews reported that Texas Christian players were having problems slipping on the  turf because of new Nike kicks they were wearing. She went on to say that TCU did not have backup cleats, blah, blah, blah.

Which rightly led the newspaper to ask the following question: Was Andrews noting this because it was true, or because it would benefit Reebok?

Answer: I don’t know. If I were to guess, I’d say Andrews was just doing her job, and that the players were slipping. However, in media perception is stronger than reality. Like, much stronger. By endorsing a shoe and working for ESPN, Andrews once again puts herself in position to be questioned and, to a certain degree, ridiculed. When she initially defended her professionalism, I was sorta with her. Just because a woman is young and attractive doesn’t mean she isn’t also a fantastic reporter.

However, over the past year or so, Andrews has become a joke; an indictment of sports journalism. To appear on Dancing with the Stars; to endorse a sneaker; to do red carpet appearances—who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you want people to think of you?

There are so many women reporters out there who work hard and kick ass and want to be judged solely on their professionalism and performance. I’ve long been an enormous Michele Tafoya fan; an enormous Robin Roberts fan; an enormous Bonnie Bernstein fan.

Erin Andrews, however, I have no patience for.

Not any more.

PS: And ESPN needs to step up here. I know they love celebrity and hype and all, but, seriously, how about some standards?